Recent American presidents have all faced a crisis of legitimacy in a trend that threatens the health of our democracy.
U.S. presidential candidates Bill Clinton (L), Ross Perot (C) and President George Bush (R) shake hands with the panelists at the conclusion of their final debate on 19 October 1992.
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Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate and vice president Al Gore march to the Florida State Capitol to rally against the Florida legislature. 2000.
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This combination of pictures from October 22, 2020 shows US President Donald Trump and now President-elect Joe Biden during the final presidential debate.
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Haley, who's at times been both a supporter and critic of the president, reportedly "shocked" White House officials by announcing the end of her two-year tenure as a U.N. ambassador.
- Nikki Haley has resigned as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
- Haley didn't offer a clear reason why she's stepping down, but said "it's time."
- The resignation reportedly came as a surprise to many White House officials, though Trump said she first floated the idea of stepping down about six months ago.
Why did Haley resign?<p> Without any explicit explanation, there's only speculation about why the U.N. ambassador chose to announce her resignation just weeks ahead of the midterm elections. <br> </p><h2>The South Carolina swap</h2><p> One possibility is that Haley plans to take the Senate seat of Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the state for which Haley spent six years as governor, should he replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general, though Graham said he has no interest in pursuing the position. To gain the Senate seat, Haley would need the approval of South Carolina's governor, Republican Henry McMaster, according to Senate vacancy rules. </p><h2>Clashes with the Trump administration</h2><p> Others note that Haley has had a strained relationship with White House officials like Mike Pompeo and John Bolton. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/09/politics/nikki-haley-resignation-donald-trump/index.html" target="_blank">CNN wrote</a> that "Haley was outwardly very tough within the UN (and the Trump administration), she was reportedly a voice urging more moderation -- and toeing the preferred line of establishment Republicans -- in private." </p><p> Haley has also clashed with Trump himself, perhaps most visibly in April when she announced U.S. sanctions on Russia. Larry Kudlow, the Trump administration's top economic adviser, later told media there were no sanctions and that Haley was confused. Haley shot back on live TV that she doesn't "get confused." </p><p> More recently, Haley penned an opinion piece responding to an anonymous op-ed published by the <em>New York Times</em> in September that outlined a secret resistance inside the White House. Haley <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/when-i-challenge-the-president-i-do-it-directly-my-anonymous-colleague-should-have-too/2018/09/07/d453eaf6-b2ae-11e8-9a6a-565d92a3585d_story.html" target="_blank">wrote</a>: </p><p> "...I don't agree with the president on everything. When there is disagreement, there is a right way and a wrong way to address it. I pick up the phone and call him or meet with him in person." </p><p> The treatment of sexual assault allegations has likely been one area of disagreement between Haley and the president. </p><p> "They should be heard, and they should be dealt with," <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nikki-haley-says-trumps-accusers-should-be-heard/2017/12/10/bd23e65e-ddd6-11e7-bbd0-9dfb2e37492a_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a1e15a658f16" target="_blank">Haley told <em>CBS </em>in December</a>. "And I think we heard from them prior to the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.</p><h2>2020 presidential run</h2><p> Some have speculated that Haley could be plotting a 2020 presidential bid, though she's denied that and said she plans to campaign for Trump. Still, if Haley does indeed believe that the special counsel investigation could ruin the current administration, she'd be in a unique position to run for office, as Jennifer Rubin noted in an <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/10/09/why-nikki-haleys-resignation-is-no-surprise/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.dbba064b6d4e" target="_blank">opinion piece for the </a><em><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/10/09/why-nikki-haleys-resignation-is-no-surprise/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.dbba064b6d4e">Washington Post</a>: </em></p><p>"She will then be in a position to pick up the pieces, a unifying figure not objectionable to Trump cultists or to the flock of Republicans who when things go downhill will claim they opposed Trump all along. She will be untainted and arguably the most highly credentialed challenger to Trump still within the GOP fold in 2020." </p><h2>Expenses controversy</h2><p> It's also worth noting that the <a href="https://www.citizensforethics.org/" target="_blank">Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington</a>, a liberal nonprofit watchdog group in Washington, issued a report to the State Department on Monday night asking for officials to investigate how Haley and her husband had accepted free flights from businessmen in 2017, which could constitute <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/09/us/politics/nikki-haley-united-nations.html" target="_blank">violations of executive branch rules on accepting gifts</a>.</p><h2>Taking a break</h2><p>Despite rumors of a presidential run, it's also plausible that Haley, who's served in high-level government positions for more than a decade, simply wants to take a break from politics, possibly with the intent to rest or <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/09/politics/nikki-haley-resignation-donald-trump/index.html" target="_blank">make more money</a>.</p><p>"It's been eight years of intense time, and I'm a believer in term limits," Haley told reporters on Tuesday. "I think you have to be selfless enough to know when you step aside and allow someone else to do the job."</p>
Haley is close with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner<p> Haley praised Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in the Oval Office briefing on Tuesday. </p><p> "Jared is such a hidden genius that no one understands," Ms. Haley said. "And Ivanka has been just a great friend, and they do a lot of things behind the scenes that I wish more people knew about, because we're a better country because they're in this administration." </p><p> Some have speculated that Trump could pick his daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump to fill the role, noting Haley's positive comments and the fact that Ivanka's Twitter account recently began following many government accounts on Monday. </p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en">According to <a href="https://twitter.com/TrumpsAlert?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Trumpsalert</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/IvankaTrump?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@IvankaTrump</a> started following a lot of Defense Department accounts yesterday <a href="https://t.co/J3ZtngjloG">pic.twitter.com/J3ZtngjloG</a><br>— Dave Brown (@dave_brown24) <a href="https://twitter.com/dave_brown24/status/1049673145433694208?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 9, 2018</a></blockquote><script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/09/us/politics/nikki-haley-united-nations.html" target="_blank"><em>The New York Times</em> noted</a> some other possible successors, including "Dina Powell, a former deputy national security adviser to the president, and Richard A. Grenell. Mr. Grenell, the American ambassador to Germany, served as spokesman for John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, when he was ambassador to the United Nation under former President George W. Bush."<br></p>
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