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After serving less than ten months as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley has tendered her resignation to President Donald Trump, which he has accepted. The former South Carolina governor reportedly discussed her decision to quit when she visited Trump at the White House last week. Nevertheless, her resignation came as a surprise in Washington and the diplomatic community.

During the 2016 Republican primaries, Haley clashed with candidate Trump, warning that his reckless bluster could result in an international crisis. But she has defended him ever since joining his administration, most recently in a Washington Post op-ed last month that responded to the notorious” op-ed in the New York Times criticizing his presidency by an anonymous “senior White House staffer.”

“I don’t agree with the president on everything,” retorted the outspoken Haley, who is the daughter of Indian immigrants. “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.”

Only hours before her resignation was revealed, Haley came under sharp criticism from the watchdogs at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) for accepting several free plane flights from three corporate executives. CREW demanded an investigation of seven private trips that Haley took between New York, Washington, and three cities in South Carolina, whose value the organization estimated at $24,000. (According to Haley, the seven flights should be valued at only $3200 and the executives are her personal friends whose favors should be exempt from ethics considerations.)

“By accepting gifts of luxury private flights, Ambassador Haley seems to be falling in line with other Trump administration officials who are reaping personal benefits from their public positions,” said Noah Bookbinder, CREW’s executive director. “Our ethics laws are clearly written to prevent even the appearance of corruption and improper influence.”

 

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