Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., declined to rule out replacing Ambassador Nikki Haley following her Tuesday announcement that she would resign her post at the United Nations at the end of the year.
کد خبر: ۸۴۱۴۰۱
تاریخ انتشار: ۱۸ مهر ۱۳۹۷ - ۰۸:۴۳ 10 October 2018

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., declined to rule out replacing Ambassador Nikki Haley following her Tuesday announcement that she would resign her post at the United Nations at the end of the year.

“We've had no conversations about it and conjecture's really bad for your health,” the retiring Tennessee Republican told reporters when asked if the job held any interest for him. “I don't respond to conjecture.”

Corker turned down an offer to serve as ambassador to Australia in May, and the fact that he had a shot at it speaks to how Corker and President Trump have mended their on-again, off-again relationship. Once regarded as a potential running mate for Trump, Corker referred to the White House as “an adult daycare center” in October of 2017.

But he is a known and respected quantity in a Senate frayed by partisan confirmation battles and bipartisan criticism of Trump’s foreign policy.

“I think people understand in positions like that, that we need to have someone there,” Corker said.

Haley was the recipient of rare bipartisan praise on Tuesday for how she filled the role at the U.N.

“I want to thank Ambassador Haley for her willingness to express moral clarity to the world and to President Trump, and promote American values and leadership on the global stage, even when she lacked the backing of the White House or State Department,” New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said in response to her resignation.

Her departure leaves “a leadership void,” Menendez added, but it’s a post that Republican foreign policy hands should be eager to fill, a former Trump transition team member told the Washington Examiner.

“I would argue that the most effective part of American public diplomacy really has been the UN ambassador — the most consistently clear on issue after issue,” the Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano said, referring to Haley specifically. “It’s certainly a job worth having ... I imagine there will be a lot of competition for it.”

Haley, whose previous experience as a South Carolina governor gave her experience chiefly in domestic issues, emerged quickly as a foreign policy star. From her seat on the Security Council across from Russian and Chinese diplomats, she served as the tip of the diplomatic spear for the Trump administration.

“She's kind of got that world stage and I think she's used it very effectively,” Carafano said.

Haley led multiple rounds of negotiations to impose new sanctions on North Korea, as part of the maximum pressure campaign that dominated Trump’s first year in office. She has confronted China and Russia over lax implementation of those sanctions, in addition to making the public case that Russia is responsible for Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

Her rebukes of Russia extended to the 2016 election interference, as well.

"When a country can come interfere in another country's elections, that is warfare," she said last year. "It really is, because you're making sure that the democracy shifts from what the people want to giving out that misinformation.”

That’s the kind of rhetoric that could have drawn a public rebuke from Trump if it came from another official. When then-White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster touted “incontrovertible" evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, Trump hastened to tweet that “McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians.”

But Haley also maintained a good relationship with the Trump family, as she tackled a reform agenda that emphasized the U.N.’s anti-Israel bias and therefore also overlapped with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s Israeli-Palestinian peace portfolio.

“Jared is such a hidden genius that no one understands,” she said Tuesday while announcing her resignation. “What I've done working with him on the Middle East Peace Plan — it is so unbelievably well done.”

Her performance as a U.N. ambassador under Trump is testament both to the scope of the job and the political talent that she brought to the position. “I hope we can replace her with somebody good,” Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, another Republican member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday evening.

Trump’s team reportedly has reached out to former White House national security adviser Dina Powell to gauge her interest in succeeding Haley. Corker, pressed about his own interest in the job, took refuge in the swirling rumors.

“I have a sense, I don’t know this, but I have a sense they've got somebody in mind,” he said.

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