Although Nikki Haley, the soon-to-be-gone U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, more often than not toed President Donald Trump’s foreign policy line, she did occasionally demonstrate a willingness to speak her mind.
Such an independent streak may not have endeared Haley to Trump, who prefers to govern by edict. But it did win her respect from members of Congress and her colleagues in U.N. headquarters in New York City.
Indeed, the former governor of South Carolina’s departure at the end of this year has fueled speculation about her successor.
The president said Tuesday he expects to name a new U.N. ambassador in two to three weeks. Among those under consideration, Trump said, is former deputy national security adviser Dina Powell.
He added a bit of intrigue to the unexpected news of Haley’s departure by telling reporters he had heard his daughter Ivanka Trump’s name discussed for the position. He didn’t say who was involved the discussion, but he conceded he would be accused of nepotism if he selected her.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and his senior adviser, ended the speculation with a tweet that said her father will “nominate a formidable replacement for Ambassador,” but “That replacement will not be me.”
That’s a good thing considering the president’s daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, already are viewed as two of the most influential members of Trump’s inner circle.
These are tense times for the United States in the global arena because Trump has made “America First” the foundation of his foreign policy.
President’s world view
He believes the world needs America more than America needs the world, which is why he has no qualms about berating or criticizing friend and foe alike on issues such as trade.
Rather than following the dictate of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer, Trump sees this nation’s friends and enemies through the same foreign-policy prism.
That has led to unprecedented tensions between the U.S. and its allies.
U.N. Ambassador Haley has attempted to calm the fears of Western leaders who are taken aback by Trump’s embrace of such bloodthirsty dictators as Russia’s Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
She has also pushed back against foreign-policy hardliners in the Trump administration, most notably Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, national security adviser.
It is noteworthy that Haley told the president six months ago she would be leaving at the end of the year. That notification coincided with the appointments of Pompeo and Bolton.
Haley has reportedly expressed some frustration that her voice has been diminished as the two men establish themselves as the aggressive new faces of Trump’s international policy, according to the Associated Press.
The AP also reported that the six-month timeline coincides with a high-profile spat between Haley and the White House in April, when she drew the president’s ire for previewing in a television appearance the administration’s planned imposition of a new round of sanctions on Russia. When the sanctions never materialized, White House officials said the plans had changed without Haley being briefed. Economic adviser Larry Kudlow suggested the U.N. ambassador was confused.
“I don’t get confused,” Haley said in a sharply worded response to the West Wing.
There also was an awkward moment for President Trump last month when he addressed the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.
As he began his speech, Trump went into political campaign mode, telling world leaders and foreign dignitaries that his administration “has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”
Many in the cavernous hall laughed.
“I didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK,” the president of the United States said, brushing off the obvious snub.
Trump doesn’t take kindly to being insulted, even though he tosses out insults with abandon.
He also holds grudges, which is why his closest advisers, especially his daughter and son-in-law, need to ensure that he doesn’t appoint a bomb thrower to succeed Ambassador Haley.
Trump may want to have the last laugh – in a manner of speaking – in the United Nations, but America cannot afford to further alienate world leaders.
The next ambassador must be someone who recognizes the value of the world organization and the important roles it plays in times of war and peace.