WASHINGTON: The sudden resignation of the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley surprised media on Tuesday, which has reported termination or resignation of top aids of President Trump well in advance, thanks to leaks from with the White House.
Haley will relinquish her charge by the end of the year, but it was the timing of her decision, which caught the media by surprise, coming just weeks before the crucial mid-term elections in November. The elections will decide as to which party will control the Congress.
She announced her decision during a "hastily announced meeting" with President Trump in his
Oval office at the White House, a week after sending a written notice that she wanted to take a break from public service, a media report said.
Haley, who served as a governor for South Carolina and then as a UN ambassador for two years, said she would back President Trump's bid for re-election in 2020.
Ambassador Haley was seen as a reliable ally of President Trump, who has fired many of his top-ranking officials since taking charge of the White House, including former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Haley won a reputation for herself as a close ally of the President who was a respected face for his administration on the world stage.
Media was awash with speculation over the timing of her announcement that also came after President Trump scored a major victory in winning a fierce battle for his Supreme Court nominee Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
"For Republicans that were hoping that Brett Kavanaugh enthusiasm would last through November, the timing is unfortunate," online political magazine quoted Republican political operative Alex Conant as saying about her resignation.
A critic of President Trump, she was appointed the ambassador weeks after the President took office and soon gained fame for being an outspoken and often forceful envoy. "It was a blessing to go into the U.N. with body armor every day and defend America," Ms. Haley said while announcing the decision with President Trump sitting next to her.
According to the reports, her decision even shocked the White House staff as President Trump kept her written notice in secret. President Trump said that the ambassador has informed him roughly six months ago that she wanted to take a break.
President Trump later told reporters that he was considering a short list of five candidates to replace Ms. Haley. A New York Times report said that possible contenders included Dina Power, a former deputy national security adviser.
The report also added that the President had said earlier that his daughter Ivanka Trump would be incredible, but it doesn't mean I'd pick her.
The NYT report said that Ms Haley was said to have a strained relationship with President Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton, who is a longtime critic of the United Nations.
Ms. Haley was the daughter of immigrants from India, who favored free markets and global trade, who acknowledged that she had policy agreements with the President but always picked up the phone and call him or meet him in person to discuss.