Don’t worry, he’s not going to do it. (I think.) Why would he want a Democrat in such a prestigious position?
“I’ve heard a lot of names. I’ve heard Ivanka. … There’s nothing to do with nepotism, but I want to tell you, the people that know, know that Ivanka would be dynamite.” -Trump on speculation about who would replace Nikki Haley as US Ambassador to the UN https://t.co/7r2AuzgSLo pic.twitter.com/c0IS2V4D39
— CNN (@CNN) October 9, 2018
It’d be a thankless task for Ivanka if he did appoint her as she’d end up being compared to the likes of Bobby Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt, two other presidential relatives who landed prominent public positions. (Although Eleanor didn’t get her UN job until after FDR had died.) Why the hell would she want that? And on what conceivable grounds would Trump justify it in terms of her experience? It’d be a slap in the face to the entire U.S. diplomatic corps if officers with decades of experience got passed over for her.
And how would she get confirmed? That vote would be pure nightmare fuel for McConnell, forcing Republicans to either confirm someone who’s obviously not qualified for the job or to vote down the president’s daughter, earning them the enmity of MAGA loyalists everywhere. Trump’s entitled to any advisors he likes, Jared and Ivanka included, but the UN ambassador serves the entire country. Out of the entire country, Ivanka Trump is the top pick? C’mon.
But I don’t think Trump’s even considering it. Her name came up in the clip because the chatterati has been kicking around the idea since Nikki Haley’s resignation was announced this morning. Appointing Ivanka is the sort of thing it seems like he’d do — even though it isn’t really. The first person he names in the clip, former advisor Dina Powell, is a much likelier bet. Although I think the dark horse, and certainly the favorite of righties, would be ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell. Grenell was a rhetorical bombthrower before his appointment and even afterward to some extent; the Germans probably wouldn’t be sad to see him go, and he’d be in his element delivering Haley-esque stemwinders aimed at Russia and China on the UN stage. Could he be confirmed, though? He got 56 votes the last time he faced the Senate but might run into trouble in the current climate, particularly with Democrats focused on his sporadic tension with the German government.
As for Haley, this morning’s mystery as to her motives, and especially her timing, remains unsolved. The leading theory right now is that she expects life in the Trump administration will soon be (even more) miserable for any number of reasons and wants to make sure the public understands that she has nothing to do with it.
White House officials had sought to put a hold on record-setting administration turnover in the run-up to the Nov. 6 elections, with aides being asked months ago to step down or commit to stay through Election Day to avoid adding to a sense of turmoil…
Despite Trump’s calm words, her sudden announcement rattled a number in the White House, who openly speculated that the timing was meant to preserve the ambassador’s own political future, according to the official and another White House official.
Mueller’s been quiet lately but he’s apt to make noise once the midterms have passed. If in fact Democrats retake the House and/or Senate, lord only knows what sort of investigations of POTUS they’ll launch next year or where they might lead. It may be that Haley also expects (correctly) that economic boom times won’t last forever and doesn’t want to be linked to the administration if and when that happens. By getting out now, before the expected wave of resignations/firings after the midterms — or any wrenching impeachment fight — she leaves a clear, singular memory of her departure in the public’s mind. Her hands are now clean of whatever mud mighty dirty the administration after today, a useful bright line for a politician who’s thinking of running for president.
In fact, says Philip Klein, the 2024 primary is shaping up to be a battle between Trump loyalist Mike Pence and all-purpose right-winger Nikki Haley. That’s another reason for today’s departure. Having earned her “Trump stripes,” it’s now time for her to create a little distance again.
Haley can carefully see how the Trump phenomenon ages, and position herself however she needs to once he exits the scene. As she gears up for 2024, if Trump’s brand has become more toxic, she can distance herself from his administration — saying first and foremost she was serving the nation as ambassador before the world. But if her association with Trump is a boost, she can play up the fact that she loyally served him.
Pence, on the other hand, has placed his bet entirely with Trump, for better or for worse. He has the claim of working more closely with Trump than anybody else. If that’s what the 2024 Republican electorate is craving, then it will give him an advantage. However, if by that time Republicans want somebody with more distance who isn’t necessarily seen as being anti-Trump (such as Sen. Ben Sasse), then it would give an edge to Haley.
One thing about Haley’s inevitable presidential run, though: Can she afford to be out of politics completely for six years? Maybe a Senate seat will open up in South Carolina, but for the moment she’s staring at being locked out of public office for awhile. She could always return to Trump’s government later, but Pence won’t want her being given any plum positions like Secretary of State lest it bolster her case against him in 2024. Republicans do occasionally nominate people for president who haven’t held public office for a few years, as Reagan and Romney were each six years removed from being governor when they were nominated and the current guy, er, never held office before. But Haley’s not an “outsider” like Trump, she’s a professional politician. And she’s apt to be facing someone who’ll either be the former vice president of the United States or the *sitting* vice president of the United States when 2024 rolls around. Six years out of the spotlight might be too many to win under those circumstances.
Here’s Mark Sanford, who’s a fan of neither Trump nor Haley, speculating that something must be up with the timing of all this.