Nikki Ha­ley exit fu­els po­lit­i­cal spec­u­la­tion

High-pro­file fe­male Repub­li­can quits post as US am­bas­sador to UN

Global Times - - Front Page -

US am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions Nikki Ha­ley ex­its Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s cab­i­net as the most high-pro­file fe­male mem­ber, po­ten­tially putting her back into play as a can­di­date for a Repub­li­can Party strug­gling with women vot­ers.

In her out-of-the-blue an­nounce­ment on Tues­day, Ha­ley, 46, point­edly tried to shut down talk that she would run for any of­fice in 2020, in­clud­ing chal­leng­ing Trump in his re-elec­tion bid.

But that hardly stopped Wash­ing­ton from play­ing a new round in its fa­vorite par­lor game: Who’s run­ning for what? Pres­i­dent, vice pres­i­dent and US sen­a­tor were all on the table.

Those who know Ha­ley from her days as a pop­u­lar gover­nor of South Carolina be­lieve she is in an en­vi­able po­si­tion.

“What she’s done as UN am­bas­sador has not only raised her own pro­file, which was al­ready high, but she also raised the pro­file of the job and she’s left some big shoes to fill,” said Rob God­frey, a for­mer po­lit­i­cal aide in South Carolina.

Ha­ley has re­ceived high marks for her UN job per­for­mance. An April poll by Quin­nip­iac Univer­sity found that 63 per­cent of vot­ers ap­proved of Ha­ley, in­clud­ing 55 per­cent of Democrats.

Ha­ley was vague about her rea­sons for quit­ting, cit­ing a de­sire to take time off.

In her res­ig­na­tion let­ter, Ha­ley re­ferred to re­turn­ing to the pri­vate sec­tor.

Few peo­ple who have watched her over the years see her leav­ing the pub­lic arena for long.

“The most likely ex­pla­na­tion is she wants to put some day­light be­tween her­self and Trump in ad­vance of run­ning for pres­i­dent,” said Jor­dan Ra­gusa, a po­lit­i­cal science pro­fes­sor at the Col­lege of Charleston in South Carolina.

Ha­ley, who had scant ex­pe­ri­ence in diplo­macy be­fore tak­ing the UN job, now emerges as a dream can­di­date, one who fig­ured out how to work with the vol­u­ble Trump with­out up­stag­ing him, but would also buck her boss on is­sues that mat­tered to her.

She ap­plauded women who come for­ward with ac­cu­sa­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct and said they should be heard, even if they were ac­cus­ing Trump.

She took a tougher stance than her boss on Rus­sia. And in the wake of vi­o­lent protest by white na­tion­al­ists in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, she called on her staff to op­pose hate, a po­si­tion viewed as a con­trast to Trump’s re­sponse.

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