Who will replace Haley? Speculation swirls around former Trump adviser

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley’s surprise departure raises questions about her successor. A former Trump Mideast adviser who left for the private sector is considered the front-runner.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley will be a hard act to follow, particularly in Israel where her announcement sparked an outpouring of praise and gratitude from Jewish leaders. Her surprise announcement Tuesday that she will step down from her post sparked speculation on a possible successor.

Several names have been floated. Dina Powell, a Goldman Sachs executive and former Mideast adviser to Trump, is considered the front-runner. Powell is on the short-list, Trump admitted to reporters on board Air Force One late Tuesday. Four other candidates are on the list whom he did not name.

Powell, who is Egyptian born, immigrated with her family to Texas when she was young. She served as Trump’s U.S. deputy national security adviser, working on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The Washington Post described her as a “driving force behind the Trump administration’s Middle East policy.” She speaks fluent Arabic.

Powell announced her departure in December, 2017, shortly after Trump declared his decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

Unlike others, Powell left on good terms with the administration, receiving effusive praise from then-national security adviser H.R. McMaster, calling her “one of the most talented and effective leaders with whom I have ever served.” She became close with the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump while at the White House, according to reports with The New York Times in May 2017 describing her as “Ms. Trump’s all-around guide in the administration.”

Powell had filled several positions under George W. Bush’s administration.

Another candidate whose name has been floated is U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell.  Trump said he “absolutely” would consider Grenell but that he also likes him where he is because he’s “doing such a good job.” Grenell only began his ambassadorship in April, after a significant Senate confirmation delay of seven months.

Also named by Trump on Tuesday as a possible replacement for Haley was his own daughter Ivanka. However, in a tweet early Wednesday she dismissed this possibility.