Politics

Nikki Haley Seen As Rising Star In Trump Administration

| by Ray Brown

Several Republicans have praised the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, during her first few months on the job.

The former Republican governor of South Carolina has been getting praise and accolades from her GOP brethren, according to Politico, in part because of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's self-imposed isolation, both in front of and behind the cameras.

"I think in her mind, the key issue that would normally exist -- her relationship with the secretary of state -- does not exist. She thinks she’s operating completely independently of him," said a George W. Bush-era State Department official.

Haley is also benefiting from being able to work on her own, away from the negative attention the Trump administration has received ever since the president was sworn in.

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"She’s fortunate to be away from Washington so that the fights between the Republican regulars and the Trump White House don’t damage her," added the former Bush administration foreign policy aide.

Haley has also reportedly shown an independent streak, according to the Politico report, and has not been afraid to call out Russia as an adversary.

"The president has not once called me and said, ‘Don’t beat up on Russia,’ has not once called me and told me what to say," Haley told ABC News in a recent interview. "I am beating up on Russia."

Haley added: "[The president] has got a lot of things he's doing, but he is not stopping me from beating up on Russia ... He's not stopping me on how we're working together [with Russia] to defeat ISIS."

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As Trump continually bats down rumors and allegations that his campaign coordinated with the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, his administration has praised Haley for her strong words on Russia.

"His ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, stood before the U.N. Security Council on her first day and strongly denounced the Russian occupation of Crimea," press secretary Sean Spicer told the White House press corps.

"She has handled herself with decorum and dignity and maintained her credibility over the first 65 days of the administration. Such is the state of the first 100 days that that is an achievement worthy of a gold medal," said Steve Schmidt, who served as campaign manager for Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona's failed 2008 presidential bid.

Haley, 45, was a rising star in the GOP before she joined Trump's cabinet. And by succeeding in her role as U.N. Ambassador, insiders believe she can become the next Secretary of State.

"She’s perfectly positioned to inherit the State Department," said another former foreign policy aid to Bush. "She needs a year or two at the U.N., and then she will get the State Department."

Sources: Politico, ABC News / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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