Trump Accepts Nikki Haley's Resignation as UN Ambassador

FILE PHOTO -- United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, Thursday, April 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
FILE PHOTO -- United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, Thursday, April 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

President Trump on Tuesday accepted Nikki Haley's resignation as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, marking a sudden and unexpected end to the tenure of one of the administration's most prominent figures.

Trump spoke at the Oval Office to address the resignation. He told reporters that Haley had done "an incredible job" and is a "fantastic person." He said she had told him six months ago that she wanted to take a break "maybe at the end of the year" -- and said she would serve through the end of 2018.

Axios, which first reported the news, reported that Haley discussed her resignation last week when she visited Trump at the White House. The outlet reported that the news shocked a number of senior foreign policy officials in the administration. State Department sources told Fox News that Haley told her staff her intentions to resign just this morning.

The U.S. Mission did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Fox News.

Haley had been a critic of Trump during the 2016 Republican primary campaign, but had emerged as a key figure in his administration as she pushed the administration's policy goals on Iran, North Korea and other items of international cooperation. The former governor of South Carolina was confirmed as U.N. Ambassador four days after Trump was inaugurated in January 2017.

Haley was a fierce critic of U.N. mismanagement and bias against Israel and the U.S. She secured cuts to the U.S. contribution to the U.N. fund, and pulled the U.S. out of the U.N. Human Rights Council -- calling it a "cesspool of political bias."

She spearheaded the administration's push to increase U.N. sanctions on North Korea, a move that ultimately led to a de-escalation of tensions in the region and talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. On Tuesday, Trump said that they "have solved a lot of problems together" and specifically mentioned North Korea.

The shock move comes just days after the opening of the U.N. General Assembly session, where Trump spoke in front of the GA and also chaired a Security Council meeting on Iran and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Fox News' John Roberts and Rich Edson contributed to this report.

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