Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, has resigned and will leave her role at the end of the year.
President Donald Trump has showered praise on Mrs Haley, congratulating her for making the job more “glamorous”, listing her accomplishments, and saying she could choose her next job within the administration.
“Nikki Haley has been very special to me,” he said. “She’s done a fantastic job. She gets it.
“The world is really respecting the US again – much more than they have in many decades. People want to be on our side. Even when you look at the votes in the United Nations.
“So I just want to thank Nikki, and this felt like an appropriate way of doing it.”
Mr Trump said that he would nominate her successor in the coming weeks.
The news of her departure has shocked many in Washington and New York, and it’s timing – shortly before the midterms – remains puzzling. Mrs Haley reportedly only told her staff at the UN this morning. She said that she has done her two years, and wanted to move on, and denied she was planning to run for the presidency in 2020.
“I don’t have anywhere set where I want to go,” she said, stressing that she had had an intense eight years – first as governor of South Carolina, and then at the UN.
“I think you have to be selfless to know when you step aside and let someone else come in,” she added, saying being the ambassador had been an honour.
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“My family is really supportive. There is no personal reason.
“But I think it’s important to know when to step aside. I think it’s good to rotate other people in and bring in new power.
“It was a blessing to go in to the UN every day with body armour to defend the United States.”