U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Tuesday that she plans leave her post at the end of the year.
The decision was announced to reporters by President Trump in a joint Oval Office appearance with Haley. Trump offered effusive praise for his envoy to the U.N.
“She’s done a fantastic job, and we’ve done a fantastic job together,” he said. “We’ve solved a lot of problems and we’re in the process of solving a lot of problems.”
Trump said he will name a replacement for Haley in the next two or three weeks. Among the names being floated in the media as a possible successor: Ivanka Trump.
Haley thanked the president, saying that the U.S. is finally “respected” on the world stage.
“Countries may not like what we do, but they respect what we do,” Haley said, adding: “It was a blessing to go into the U.N. with body armor on every day.”
“It’s been an intense time and I’m a believer of term limits,” Haley explained. “I think you have to be selfless enough to know when you step aside and allow someone else to do the job.”
Trump said Haley first informed him of her decision to leave after two years in the post, telling him that she wanted to “take a little break.”
“I think she’s helped make it a much better position,” the president said. “I think it’s become maybe a more glamorous position than it was two years ago. I mean, I wonder why, but it is. She’s made it a more glamorous position. She’s made it a more important — more importantly — a more important position.”
The president left open the possibility of Haley returning to the administration, saying she would be welcome in any capacity.
The former South Carolina governor, who is viewed by some in her party as a future presidential candidate, firmly denied she planned a challenge to Trump’s reelection.
“No, I am not running in 2020,” Haley said, adding that she will campaign for Trump in the next general election cycle.
Haley’s tenure as U.S. ambassador hasn’t been without controversy.
In April, Haley clashed with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow over his suggestion she had suffered from “momentary confusion” when she announced that new sanctions against Russia were imminent.
“With all due respect, I don’t get confused,” Haley said.
Kudlow later apologized.
And following Trump’s controversial response blaming “both sides” for the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017, Haley said she had a “personal conversation” with the president.
“Well, I had a personal conversation with the president about Charlottesville, and I will leave it at that,” Haley told CNN’s Dana Bash at the time. “But I will tell you that there is no hate in this country. I know the pain that hate can cause, and we need to isolate haters, and we need to make sure that they know there is no place for them.”
“Anyone that goes and tries to spew hate on someone because of their color or religion or their place in life — that’s terribly wrong,” she continued. “It’s something that we don’t stand for in America.”
And on Monday, the Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington called for an investigation into seven private flights taken by Haley that were paid for by South Carolina business executives.
There is no evidence, however, that the scrutiny of those flights had anything to do with Haley’s decision to leave her diplomatic post.