Nikki Haley resigns

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12:21 p.m. ET, October 9, 2018

Read Nikki Haley's resignation letter

Dear Mr. President:

It has been an immense honor to serve our country in your Administration. I cannot thank you enough for giving me this opportunity.

You will recall that when you offered me the position of United States Ambassador to the United Nations in November 2016, I accepted the offer based on some conditions. Those conditions included serving in your Cabinet and on the National Security Council and being free to speak my mind on the issues of the day. You made those commitments and you have absolutely kept them all. For that too, I will always be grateful.

We achieved great successes at the UN. We passed the toughest sanctions against any country in a generation, pressuring North Korea toward denuclearization. We passed an arms embargo on South Sudan that will help reduce violence and hopefully bring peace to that troubled country. We stood up for our ally Israel and began to roll back the UN’s relentless bias against her. We reformed UN operations and saved over $1.3 billion. We spoke out resolutely against dictatorships in Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and yes, Russia. Through it all, we stood strong for American values and interests, always placing America first. I am proud of our record.

As a strong supporter of term limits, I have long believed that rotation in office benefits the public. Between the UN Ambassadorship and serving in the South Carolina Governorship and General Assembly, I have been in public office for fourteen straight years. As a businessman, I expect you will appreciate my sense that returning from government to the private sector is not a step down but a step up.

Accordingly, I am resigning my position. To give you time to select a replacement, and to give the Senate time to consider your selection, I am prepared to continue to serve until January 2019.

At that point, I will once again become a private citizen. I expect to continue to speak out from time to time on important public policy matters, but I will surely not be a candidate for any office in 2020. As a private citizen, I look forward to supporting your re-election as President, and supporting the policies that will continue to move our great country toward even greater heights.

With best wishes and deep gratitude,

Nikki Haley

11:47 a.m. ET, October 9, 2018

There are five women left in Trump's Cabinet without Haley

Nikki Haley's end-of-year departure from President Donald Trump's Cabinet will set off a scramble to find her replacement. 

One consideration for the White House: Haley, a former South Carolina governor with her eyes undeniably set on high office some day, was arguably the most high-profile woman in a Trump Cabinet with few women.

With Haley, there were six women in Trump's Cabinet -- 26%, a lower percentage than Barack Obama's Cabinet, which ranged between 30% and 35%, but higher than George W. Bush, whose Cabinet had between 19% and 24%, according to data compiled by the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers.

If it is not a woman who replaces Haley, the percentage of women in Trump's Cabinet would fall to 22%.

Here are the women who will remain:

  • Administrator of the Small Business Administration Linda E. McMahon
  • Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Gina Haspel
  • Secretary of Education Elisabeth Prince DeVos
  • Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao
  • Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen
11:39 a.m. ET, October 9, 2018

Trump has list of contenders, hasn't shared it widely with senior staff

President Donald Trump has a working list of contenders to succeed Ambassador Nikki Haley, but has not shared it widely with even most senior White House officials, one senior White House official said.

Trump plans to work through it and seek advice from advisers as he works to decide on her successor in the coming weeks.

11:42 a.m. ET, October 9, 2018

Haley told Trump last week, did not tell Pompeo or Bolton 

Nikki Haley told President Trump last week about her decision, but never told Secretary of State Pompeo or White House national security adviser Bolton, according to a source familiar.

CNN's Jim Sciutto said he's been texting with members of congress on Capitol Hill this morning and it came as a surprise to all of them.

11:36 a.m. ET, October 9, 2018

The real reason behind Haley's resignation may be a financial one

A source familiar tells CNN that one real consideration for Nikki Haley is a financial one. She has one child in college and another heading there soon and she felt like she needs to make some money.

2:23 p.m. ET, October 9, 2018

Haley had lost clout with Trump in recent months

Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP
Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP

Nikki Haley had lost clout with the President in recent months, two sources familiar with their relationship have noted in wake of her resignation. When Rex Tillerson was still secretary of state, Trump sought out Haley's advice often. She was regularly seen in the Oval Office.

But now that Mike Pompeo is in that role, and with John Bolton as the national security adviser, Haley has seen her time with the president diminish.

She had been sidelined on big policy decision in recent months, too. Let's not forget the big sanctions flap back in April, when she announced on a Sunday show that the U.S. would be imposing fresh sanctions on Russia in the coming weeks.

Trump, watching from the residence of the White House, flipped when he heard this. That led to Larry Kudlow saying she had been momentarily confused, to which Haley shot back, "I don't get confused."

11:27 a.m. ET, October 9, 2018

Pence tweet: "She will be missed"

11:26 a.m. ET, October 9, 2018

Lindsey Graham not interested in ambassador role, aide says

Senator Lindsey Graham has no interest in a Cabinet spot, and aide tells CNN.

Lindsey Graham is not interested in a Cabinet spot despite rumors that President Trump may try to install him after the shakeup caused by Nikki Haley's announcement, a Graham aide said.

This Haley resignation announcement was not coordinated with Graham and the timing caught the South Carolina Republican by surprise, aide said. Graham is planning on running for reelection in 2020, he told South Carolina reporters over the weekend.

Top Republicans on Capitol Hill also were surprised by the timing, two aides said.

11:17 a.m. ET, October 9, 2018

Trump says "many people" want the UN job

President Donald Trump said he believes Amb. Nikki Haley has helped make the position of UN ambassador "more glamorous" and "more important" and said that "many people" want to succeed her in the post.

"I think she’s helped make it a much better position...She’s made it a more glamorous position, she’s made it, more importantly, a more important position," Trump said.

"We have many people that are very, very much interested in doing that."

Trump said he plans to discuss potential candidates with haley and with "the general" -- likely a reference to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis or White House chief of staff John Kelly.