Unexpectedly, on October 9, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, announced that she will be leaving the Trump administration at the end of the year. Denying the suspicion that she will be running against Trump in the 2020 election, Haley promises to actually campaign for him. Therefore, her departure does not demonstrate opposition to the administration’s ideology and positions. With a possibility of a further political career, she should not be remembered as a moderate Republican or a voice of reason in the Trump administration.
As one of the only officials that has left on good terms with the Trump administration, she does not hesitate to criticize both sides of the U.S. political parties. During the charity dinner on October 18, Haley initially joked about the administration, and then seriously criticized the current political climate.
“In our toxic political environment, I’ve heard some people in both parties describe their opponents as enemies or evil,” Haley said. “In America, our political opponents are not evil. In South Sudan, where rape is routinely used as a weapon of war — that is evil. In Syria, where the dictator uses chemical weapons to murder innocent children — that is evil. In North Korea, where American student Otto Warmbier was tortured to death — that was evil.”
“In the last two years, I’ve seen true evil,” Haley continued. “We have some serious political differences here at home. But our opponents are not evil. They’re just our opponents.”
From this quote, she appears to be a moderate who encourages the two parties to work together. Many would argue that as one of the few women of color in the administration, she is preventing Trump from doing even more damage. She was an outspoken critic of Russia’s aid of the Assad Regime. This is despite Trump’s conspicuous fondness of Putin and Russia, demonstrated by his tout of Putin’s denial of election meddling, followed by the rebuke of the US intelligence agency at the Helsinki summit earlier this year. In contrast to the majority of the Republican party whose opinions seem to sway to that of the President’s, she has very strong viewpoints and is sometimes a critic of the Trump administration. Nevertheless, as a continuous supporter of Trump’s 2020 presidential election, she is definitely not an ally to the Democrats. From her rebuke of Russia, we can conclude that her enabling of the Trump administration’s ideals and policies is to her own liking, and her departure from the administration does not mark her an opponent of the Trump administration.
Nikki Haley, who still has a political career ahead of her, should be remembered negatively for what she did as UN ambassador. One of the notable “feats” of her career was the U.S. withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council. In May, the United States moved its embassy into Jerusalem, disregarding the Palestinians that live in the West Bank. In recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the United States demonstrates its support for Israel’s unethical occupation of Palestine territory, which has been ongoingly rebuked by the UN human rights council. After receiving criticisms over the pro-Israel policies, Nikki Haley, representing the United States, accuses the Council of having a “chronic anti-Israel bias,” calling it “a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias”. In favor of Israel’s foreign policies, with Nikki Haley’s support, the U.S. has also pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal and the UN cultural organization UNESCO. Interestingly, while she called Syria’s use of chemical weapons “evil,” Israel has been condemned by the UN for multiple human rights offenses, including its use of white phosphorus, an illegal chemical weapon, during the war on Gaza. Aside from siding with the Trump administration for its pro-Israel policies, Nikki Haley has also defended the administration for its withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord.
Nikki Haley has always supported the policies of the Trump administration. She is no moderate and must not be remembered as one. As Haley exits the Trump administration, there is no need for us to shed a tear, but neither should we celebrate her departure. On her way out, Nikki Haley has praised Jared Kushner as “a hidden genius,” while Trump is suggesting his daughter, Ivanka Trump, as her UN replacement. Although Haley was a disappointment, I doubt her replacement could be much better. Nikki Haley’s record as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations should serve as a warning that Republicans cannot be trusted to protect human rights, regardless of their occasional opposition to the Trump’s crazy views. To defend the rights of people all over the world, your vote matters now more than ever.