WASHINGTON — US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley resigned Tuesday directly to President Donald Trump, according to multiple sources familiar with her decision.
A senior State Department official said Haley told her staff this morning.
A source familiar with the matter said Haley’s resignation caught national security adviser John Bolton and Sec. of State Mike Pompeo by surprise.
Teasing an announcement in the Oval Office this morning, Trump called Haley “my friend.”
“Big announcement with my friend Ambassador Nikki Haley in the Oval Office at 10:30am,” he tweeted.
Axios was first to report the news that Haley resigned.
The former South Carolina governor was tapped as ambassador to the UN following Trump’s election win despite supporting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in her state’s all-important 2016 presidential primary and later backing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
When asked if she would take the job by then-chief of staff Reince Priebus, Haley was intrigued but had some conditions.
First, she told Trump she wanted to be a member of the Cabinet and the National Security Council, privileges enjoyed by her predecessors in the Obama administration. Perhaps most importantly, she wanted the latitude to be herself, to say what she wanted.
“I said ‘I am a policy girl, I want to be part of the decision-making process,'” she told CNN in a 2017 interview, recalling the conversation with Trump. “He said, ‘done.’ And I said, ‘I don’t want to be a wallflower or a talking head. I want to be able to speak my mind.’ He said, ‘That is why I asked you to do this.’ In all honesty, I didn’t think they were going to take me up on everything I asked for. And they gave me all that. So how do you turn that down?”
During her more than a year-and-a-half on the job, she has repeatedly spoken her mind, whether it’s going further on human rights than many of her administration colleagues or denouncing racism at home.
This is a developing story.