Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said Tuesday she will resign her current post as United Nations ambassador, making the surprise announcement while seated next to President Donald Trump in the White House.
The announcement broke late Tuesday morning after the news website Axios cited sources who said Haley had stepped down earlier in the day. However, Haley said she would leave the post at year’s end.
During the briefing with reporters, Trump said the former governor had told him she needed a break and that the UN ambassador post was more “intense” than she expected after leaving the SC governor’s office in January 2017.
“I am such a lucky girl to have been able to leave the state that raised me and to serve a country I love so very much has really been a blessing,” Haley said during the announcement.
Haley said she helped cut $1.3 billion from the UN budget and pointed to her efforts to de-nuclearize North Korea and confront “anti-Israel bias” in the international community.
The ambassador said she does not “have any idea” of what she’s going to do next, but fended off speculation she would run against President Trump in the 2020 GOP primary. She said she wanted to serve for a full two years before stepping away.
President Trump said he was happy with Haley’s service to his administration and wanted to make the announcement in a news conference. “When you write it out on a piece of paper and say nice things, people say, ‘Well, what’s going on?'” Trump told reporters. “This is the right way to do it.”