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UN’s Nikki Haley to leave Trump administration; says she will not run for president

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP)

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the latest shake-up for President Donald Trump’s administration, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced Tuesday, Oct. 9, she is resigning at the end of the year, raising fresh questions about the Trump team and about the outspoken diplomat’s own political ambitions.

The news blindsided some key U.S. allies and many congressional Republicans involved in foreign policy matters. And it came less than a month before congressional elections, thwarting White House efforts to project an image of stability, with the loss of one of the highest-profile women in the administration at a time when women’s votes are being vigorously pursued.

But Haley, the former South Carolina governor, has often been an unpredictable and independent force in the Trump administration. At times she has offered strikingly different perspectives on world events from Trump.

A smiling Haley announced her decision at an Oval Office meeting alongside the president, bringing up her own political prospects even as she underscored her continued support for Trump. Without prompting from reporters, she said she had no plans to run for president “in 2020” and would campaign for Trump.

Haley, 46, hinted in her resignation letter to Trump that she is headed to the private sector.

“I have given everything I’ve got these last eight years,” she said, referring to her six years as governor as well as her time at the U.N. “And I do think it’s good to rotate in other people who can put that same energy and power into it.”

Trump was asked why the announcement was made now since Haley is staying until the end of the year. Instead of answering directly, he recounted how she has had to work on tough issues, such as Iran and North Korea.

A number of officials speculated that the timing was meant to preserve the ambassador’s own political future. A post in the Trump administration has proven to be a rickety stepping-stone to either lucrative private sector work or hopes for higher office.