Whoa: Nikki Haley resigns? Update: At the end of the year; Update: Resigned six days ago

This will be spun, I’m sure, as normal turnover. “She served her 18 months (give or take), now it’s time to move on.” Nonsense. Normal turnover waits until after the midterms, precisely because major resignations have unpredictable political consequences.

And if she’s “moving on,” what is she moving on to? She’s not going to primary Lindsey Graham or Tim Scott back home and Henry McMaster, her successor as governor, is about to be elected to a full four-year term.

President Trump has accepted Nikki Haley’s resignation as UN Ambassador, according to two sources briefed on their conversation. The timing of her departure is still unclear.

What we’re hearing: Haley discussed her resignation with Trump last week when she visited him at the White House, these sources said. Her news shocked a number of senior foreign policy officials in the Trump administration.

Deepening the mystery, this appears to be an amicable departure despite the reports of friction between Russia-friendly Trump and anti-Russia Haley during the past year and a half. She’s meeting with him in the Oval Office at any minute — and cameras are invited. He’s even touting the meeting on Twitter. If she resigned in principle over some foreign policy decision (or if she was the secret author of the NYT “Anonymous” op-ed last month), Trump wouldn’t be giving her a send-off like this.


Is he appointing her to another position somewhere? Where else can she go with State now firmly in Pompeo’s hands?

While we wait for the mystery to be solved, please, I beg you, spare me the dopey theories that she’s resigning to position herself for a primary challenge to Trump in 2020. That would be political suicide and she knows it. By accepting the UN job and working for Trump, Haley shrewdly earned a little goodwill among Trumpers to balance the enthusiastic support she has among conservatives. She’s not going to blow that now by undertaking a futile primary campaign that’ll completely alienate the former and partially alienate the latter by wrecking the party’s only hope for White House control in 2021, namely, Trump’s reelection. Stand by for updates.

Update: Again, although I don’t think it’s connected to the Times op-ed, Haley was in fact a leading suspect among some Trump allies, as was one of her top deputies, Jon Lerner.

Update: Here’s an interesting bank-shot theory:

An alternate, more direct theory, is that Trump has lined up Haley herself to replace Sessions as AG. But Haley isn’t a hardcore Trump loyalist, so why would he trust her with the Russiagate probe? (Also, Graham has sworn up and down that he doesn’t want the AG job, for understandable reasons given Sessions’s fate.)

Update: For what it’s worth:

Update: Also very strange:


Update: Weirder and weirder. Maybe there’s a personal reason/

Update: Trump is speaking now and says Haley will leave at the end of the year. But why announce it now, then? This is also curious:

I don’t remember what Haley’s Twitter bio looked like before. Did it mention that she was ambassador to the UN, as might be expected?

Update: I mean, obviously:

Update: Is this about … Kavanaugh? Some reporters are speculating that the timing simply can’t be a coincidence. For Haley to come out as anti-Kavanaugh, though, would be almost as suicidal in terms of her national ambitions as primarying Trump would be. It would be a blaring siren to grassroots righties that she’s not willing to fight for a conservative under siege by the left. Also, if this were about Kavanaugh why would she agree to stay on through the end of the year instead of quitting now?

Update: Haley says there’s no personal reason for her leaving, merely a recognition that public officials shouldn’t serve forever. Still doesn’t explain the strange timing.

Update: Did Haley lose a power struggle?

Update: Here’s Haley’s resignation, dated … last Wednesday. No doubt it was easier to keep this secret with the entire country in the throes of Kavanaughgeddon but that’s a long time for a major cabinet resignation to stay quiet.