Eric Lach at the New Yorker asks the question on everyone’s mind: What’s the Real Reason Nikki Haley Resigned as U.N. Ambassador? Don’t hold your breath. No one knows.
Did Nikki Haley resign as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations because she wants to run for President in 2020, or because her influence at the U.N. had been “blunted,” or because she wants Lindsey Graham’s Senate seat if he becomes Attorney General after the midterms, or for some other reason? Despite President Trump and Haley’s chummy appearance before reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning, and Trump’s assertion that Haley had told him months ago that she wanted to leave “at the end of the year,” the news reportedly caught many senior Administration officials by surprise, and set off a hunt for an ulterior motive.
A few things to keep in mind, courtesy of The New Yorker’s Susan B. Glasser. First, Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, is a politician. “Treat her like a politician,” Glasser said. “She’s running for something—we just don’t know what.” Second, notice the praise that Haley directed at Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, whom she called “such a hidden genius” during her appearance in the Oval Office. “Did they push her out?” Glasser asked. “Or is it the opposite, and she’s signalling her endorsement of their faction?” Third, Glasser said, the timing might matter. “The fact that it came right after Kavanaugh should not be dismissed,” she said, referring to the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. “She is hyper-political and calculating, by all accounts. And there’s no way she doesn’t know this will be interpreted as the most senior woman on the President’s national-security team leaving not even two days after he swears in Brett Kavanaugh.” Finally, few people appear to know what’s actually happening. Many in the Trump Administration will have reasons to put their own spin on this, and it helps, Glasser added, to remember that “the chaos in the White House cannot be overstated.”