U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley is going out on top. Pundits say her political instincts make the presidency a realistic goal.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
When Nikki Haley announced her resignation as America’s U.N. ambassador six days ago, it shocked everyone – the Washington establishment, the media, political colleagues and admirers around the world.
Now that the news has had a little time to sink in, many adversaries are joining her proponents in admitting that although it was surprising, considering her success, it may be an excellent move on her part to position herself as a leading Republican contender for the presidency in 2024.
Politicians typically only leave their current positions if something more enticing is on the table. But Haley doesn’t have another post lined up – at least not yet – that would give her a bigger stage than the one she is on.
“‘I think that it’s just very important for government officials to understand when it’s time to step aside,” she noted during her resignation announcement on October 9. “Sometimes it’s good to rotate in other people who can put that same energy and power into it.”
Those who know Haley say that she does have her sights on the Oval Office – a logical assumption, considering that she already dipped her toe into the primary waters before Donald Trump got the nod in 2016.
Few dispute that she’s leaving the U.N. on a high note, as a woman who not only mastered a highly challenging position on the fly but gained the respect – if not admiration – of many for her decisive moves in the Security Council and robust defense of America’s values.
She is also one of the few to leave the administration with the president’s praise and thanks, keeping her in good standing with Trump supporters. And she resigns before a possible Republican defeat in the midterm elections, putting distance between herself and a potential party debacle.
“Ambassador Haley has some of the best political instincts not just of any person to come out of South Carolina in a long time, but anyone on the American political scene today,” Bruce Haynes, a veteran player in state politics, told the Washington Examiner.
A Haley adviser, Robert Godfrey, takes the same view, noting also her talent for fund raising.
“Regardless of whether the president is re-elected, Nikki Haley will certainly be among the party’s brightest stars six years from now,” he said to the Washington Examiner. “You’d be hard-pressed to name anyone with a stronger resume or more political talent, to say nothing of her gifts as a messenger and her capacity to raise money.”
Haley’s “natural, telegenic charisma and decisive, pragmatic leadership under pressure” stands her in good stead with the GOP establishment, even with those who are not necessarily Trump enthusiasts, the Examiner report noted that.
One intriguing idea floated on an anti-Republican website, Care2, speculated that Trump will fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the midterms, and appoint current South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham in his place. That would give the former governor an excellent chance to become his successor, and “Senator Haley” would then have the opportunity to burnish her credentials in the media spotlight and gain grassroots support across the country.