Today, US UN Ambassador sat side by side smiling at the WH as she announced her resignation. They tried to put a good face on her departure. She even went so far as to speak the magic words that mattered most to him saying that she would not be running against Trump in 2020. She even said she would support him.
Well, two years is a long time. And her resigning a month before the mid-term elections could not have been what the White House wanted—especially when she could easily have departed afterwards as is more traditionally done and when her exit would be less of a story given the likely simultaneous departures of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and quite possibly Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. She’s been very canny about trying to appear supportive of Trump when necessary and then distancing herself from him more deftly than any of her other cabinet colleagues. So, no one should take too seriously what was said in the hastily scheduled press op. And if Trump can’t run or is severely damaged by developments from the Mueller probe or on other fronts…well, eep an eye on Haley.
Why did she go now? Theories are swirling. There were many reports of tensions between her and UN-skeptic National Security Advisor John Bolton and her relations with State, while slightly better with Mike Pompeo than with Rex Tillerson, have also always been chilly. There are also some ethics issues that have begun to swirl up around her acceptance of some paid flights, etc. And there is also the possibility that some other issue emerged. Reporting over the next days and weeks will reveal that.
Amid all these questions, however, one things seems clear. National Security Advisor Bolton is going to use the opening to try to accelerate his campaign against the UN. The US has pulled out of key UN efforts, cut funding for others, and that sort of behavior is likely to continue if Bolton gets the upper hand here.
An X-factor is that Trump said he would offer up a nominee in the next 2-3 weeks (another sign he was blindsided by this) which means the announcement will come right before the mid-term elections. That means that the president and his team will be very tempted to come up with a choice that wins a news cycle or two for them. In other words, the calculus may push him toward a more prominent name as more of a technocrat will be ignored by most of America.
The big take away however is that Haley’s departure came as a surprise and apparently caught the White House flat-footed. In other words, the White House’s track record of chaos and confusion has continued. And all that we know is that more high level personnel changes are around the corner. So buckle up, it’s going to be a turbulent couple of months.