Nikki Haley met with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday to officially resign

By Tierney McAfee
October 09, 2018 10:31 AM
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Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley
| Credit: Julie Jacobson/AP/REX/Shutterstock

President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that his U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has resigned and will be leaving her position at the end of the year.

Axios broke the news earlier on Tuesday morning, citing sources who said that Trump had accepted Haley’s resignation after the controversial former governor of South Carolina, 46, visited him at the White House last week.

CNN also reported that Haley had resigned, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

Haley, who has been one of Trump’s most trusted advisers, told her staff this morning, CNN said, citing a senior State Department official.

In a news conference about the decision, Haley said “There’s no personal reason … It’s very important for government officials to understand when it’s time to step aside.” The White House did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, but Trump expressed his approval of her work in her role and added, “Hopefully you’ll be coming back at some point but in a different capacity. You can have your pick.”

Donald Trump and Nikki Haley
| Credit: Evan Vucci/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Before Trump’s announcement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement to reporters, “President Trump and Ambassador Nikki Haley will meet in the Oval Office at 10:30 a.m. this morning. This event will be open to the pool.”

Trump also tweeted that he would be making a “big announcement” with his “friend” Haley at that time.

Haley’s resignation was a shock to many senior foreign policy officials in the Trump administration, according to Axios.

The news comes as a watchdog organization, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”), is calling for the State Department’s inspector general to open an investigation into Haley over private flights she took that were paid for by South Carolina business executives, Huffington Post reports. CREW said the flights, which Haley listed on her public financial disclosure report this year, were likely worth about $24,000.

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“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,” Noah Bookbinder, executive director of the group, said in a statement to Huffington Post. “Our ethics laws are clearly written to prevent even the appearance of corruption and improper influence.”