A month before the midterm elections, Donald Trump contends with turbulence within the White House The cohesion of his team is now open to question with Tuesday’s resignation of the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who has played a pivotal role in steering American diplomacy in the world body. Her announcement has been greeted with a degree of collective jawdropping, not the least among key US allies and congressional Republicans who are involved in foreign policy matters.
In the net, the White House and also of course the UN has lost one of the highest profile women in the US administration, and crucially with less than a month to go for the Congressional elections and when women’s votes are being vigorously pursued. On closer reflection, it has been a bitterly ironic development. Mrs Haley’s announcement comes barely 72 hours after the Senate’s vote confirming Brett Kavanaugh as a judge of the Supreme Court ~ a moral victory for President Trump. That boost for the White House appears to have been somewhat neutralised with Mrs Haley’s resignation announcement, a decision that is bound to thwart pre-election efforts to project an image of stability. Of late she has worked on particularly tough issues, notably Iran and North Korea.
The former Governor of South Carolina has often been unpredictable and independent-minded within the Trump administration. As often as not, she has advanced perspectives on world events that have been strikingly different from the man at the helm, who has risked being dubbed as an “isolationist”. There is speculation in America today that she is a “burnout” case, a victim of over-stress. In the presence of President Trump, she has scotched rumours that she might run for President in 2020. “I have given everything I’ve got these last eight years,” she said, referring to her six years as Governor as well as her stint at the UN. “And I do think it’s good to rotate in other people who can put that same energy and power into it.”
The daughter of Indian immigrants, Mrs Haley had clashed with Trump during the 2016 campaign, denouncing “the siren call of the angriest voices” that disrespected America’s immigrants. There was, therefore, a fundamental disconnect between the President and America’s representative at the UN.
More recently, there was a spat between the US Ambassador and the White House in April, when she incurred the President’s ire for previewing in a television appearance the administration’s planned imposition of a new round of sanctions on Russia. When the sanctions never materialized, White House officials said the plans had changed without Mrs Haley being briefed. There is turmoil within the US administration today; never in the past two years has governance been so fragile.