Nikki Haley: Heschel Theories

By Maddie Cosgrove and Talia Levin ‘20


On Tuesday, October 9th Nikki Haley, America’s ambassador to the United Nations, stepped down from her position. Her resignation is one in a series of Trump cabinet registrations over the past two years. Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, is often viewed as a supporter of Israel due to her opinions in favor of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Haley publicly disagreed with the President numerous times during her tenure. This includes a mishap when it was suggested by a top official that Haley suffered “momentary confusion” over the Trump Administration’s policy regarding sanctions against Russian entities involved with Syria’s chemical weapons program. Haley responded, in a written statement, “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” According to Cable News Network (CNN), Trump claimed to have known that her resignation was coming up to six months ago. Rumors have swirled regarding the seemingly abrupt resignation.

Members of the Heschel community have different thoughts regarding what motivated her resignation. Freshman Charles Fine theorized, “She has different opinions on foreign affairs from other members of the cabinet such as [Mike] Pompeo, the Secretary of State, and [John] Bolton, the National Security Advisor, and she lost internal debates about key policies. Therefore, she decided to leave on her own terms before being pushed out.” In contrast, Jordana Tepper, Heschel class of ‘18, thought that she must have left for familial or health reasons. She pointed out that Trump is usually publically verbal when he has an issue with one of his cabinet members, so we would have known if there had been tension going on there. She believes that if the reason was anything professional, it would have been known.

Freshman Talia Shapiro considered that “[Haley] resigned because she has been a governor for many years and spent two very hard years working as the U.S ambassador to the UN. There is a big chance that she could be running for office in a few years and I think she took some time off to consider what she wants to do in the future.” Limudei Qodesh teacher Rabbi Mikey Stein offered the theory that Haley may have done this to distance herself from Trump so she can ultimately run for president, saying, “If things really go south for the Trump administration over the next two years, we could see her emerge as an alternative GOP [Republican] candidate for President as early as 2020.”

From a practical perspective, junior Michael Schwab said, “I don’t think she’s been making enough money as the ambassador. She has a good amount of debt and probably wants a private-sector job for a few years before returning to politics.” Schwab suggested that this was a financial move, not a strategic political one.

Less than a day before her resignation, it became public that Nikki Haley had accepted seven free, private flights from her South Carolina supporters in the past. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (C.R.E.W) ordered an investigation of whether the gifts were a violation of ethics regulations. Stein suggested that “even if these were not problematic donations for her to accept, she may have resigned to avoid a public scandal that could tarnish her reputation.” He points out that this may have been a way for Haley to save face.


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