10 October 2018
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
America's Ambassador to the UN Nikki Hailey caught the world flat-footed yesterday with the announcement that she will be resigning from the post effective at the end of the year. She gave no reason for her departure beyond desiring a break from public service. As a result, pundits and politicos have speculated that she is running against Mr. Trump in 2020, or that she is positioning herself for a 2024 presidential bid. Some have suggested that she has a desire to become a US Senator if fellow South Carolinian Lindsey Graham becomes Attorney General. In truth, it might just be that there is less here than meets the eye.
Ambassador Hailey's announcement ahead of the mid-terms suggests that she wanted some headlines. There will be a reshuffling of the administration after November's elections. She would have been lost in that shuffle. This way, she gets a spotlight on her service without having to share it, but that doesn't mean she's got an intricate, multi-stage plan for the future. It means she as a politician's ego.
Ambassador Hailey is one of the few people who leaves the Trump administration with a better public image and with a better resume than when she came in. The general rule is that decent people serve President Trump and are worse for the experience while rotten people also serve and they flourish in their rottenness. The ambassador has committed no serious gaffe, and she has added top-tier foreign policy experience to her vitae.
The idea that she is going to challenge Mr. Trump for the 2020 nomination is laughable. Having served two years in his administration, she would need a serious pretext for breaking with him. There is none. Given the rabid loyalty he inspired among the Republican base, anyone challenging him is committing to a nasty, up-hill battle. Governor Kasich of Ohio is positioned to do this as a never-Trump Republican. Ms. Hailey is not.
However, Mr. Trump will not be running in 2024. Either he will win re-election in 2020 and be ineligible for a third term in 2024, or he will lose in 2020 and retire from politics. The post-Trump GOP will be up for grabs, and it has been demonstrated that his personal popularity is non-transferable. Ms. Hailey can point to her time as Governor of South Carolina and two years at the UN, and her gender and ethnicity offer the GOP a chance to reach beyond the old white male base it has in the South.
So, if she is running in 2024, what does she do in the meanwhile? At 46, she is entering her prime earning years, and more than one report says she and her husband have significant debts. Whether she runs in 2024 or not, the opportunities to cash in with speaking fees, book deals and so on are at a peak. She is perfectly entitled to fill her personal coffers. By 2022, she may be well into the black and make her presidential bid at the ripe old age of 50. She can even afford to wait until 2028 or 2032. And she may decide that she does not want the White House after all.
Time will tell, and Ambassador Hailey may not know herself what she wants to do.
© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.