Meeting Haley in the Oval Office, Trump said that Haley had done a "fantastic job" and would leave at the end of the year. Jonathan Swan of Axios reports, "President Trump has accepted Nikki Haley's resignation as UN Ambassador, according to two sources briefed on their conversation".
Haley's impending departure came as a shock to Washington, amid crucial times for foreign policy, and one month ahead of November's midterms. "You can have your pick", he said.
The president and the ambassador told reporters as they sat together in the Oval Office that Haley would be leaving at the end of this calendar year.
Haley, whose given name was Nimrata Randhawa, was elected governor in 2010 of deeply Republican South Carolina and, during the 2016 campaign, had criticized Trump over his remarks on immigrants before their political reconciliation.
Dina Powell, a former Goldman Sachs executive who served in the Bush White House and State Department, and later as Trump's Deputy National Security Advisor, was one of the first names to be uttered as the next possible United Nations ambassador. The president said Haley has been very special to him, and they will be in constant touch.
Haley, 46, was appointed to the U.N. post in November 2016 and last month coordinated Trump's second trip to the United Nations, including his first time chairing the Security Council.
At the UN, Haley helped spearhead the Trump administration's efforts to combat what it alleged to be anti-American and anti-Israel actions by the global body.
Earlier this year, Haley, 46, told Reuters that, "Every day I feel like I put body armor on", to protect US interests at the United Nations. "As a private citizen, I look forward to supporting your re-election as President, and supporting the policies that will continue to move our country toward even greater heights". Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally tweeted that Haley "has a very bright future and will be a key player in both the future of the Republican Party and our nation as a whole for years to come".
"I don't get confused", Haley said in a sharply-worded rejoinder to the West Wing. She was re-elected in 2014.
On Monday, the federal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) called for the State Department's inspector general to launch an ethics investigation into Haley, regarding seven free flights on private planes that Haley and her husband accepted from three SC businessmen in 2017.