On Tuesday, United States President Donald Trump at the White House said that Nikki Haley will leave her job as US ambassador to the United Nations at the end of the year.
Trump said that Haley told him 6 months ago she wanted a break after spending two years in the post. "She's done a fantastic job and we've done a fantastic job together," Trump said.
Haley is a former governor of South Carolina who has repeatedly deflected speculation that she might harbour presidential aspirations of her own. "It has been the honour of a lifetime," she said in the Oval Office, thanking Trump.
"No, I am not running in 2020," she said. She would campaign for Trump, she added.
According to the officials, Haley's decision stunned White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Vice President Mike Pence.
Trump teased an announcement less than 15 minutes before his appearance with Haley after news organizations began reporting she would resign.
Big announcement with my friend Ambassador Nikki Haley in the Oval Office at 10:30 am.
Several senior White House aides wondered about the timing of her decision, weeks before midterm congressional elections.
Haley has been a strong advocate of Trump's foreign policy. On her first day as UN ambassador, she warned, "for those that don't have our back, we’re taking names. We will make points to respond to that accordingly."