Nikki Haley praised for 'moral clarity' as UN ambassador as news of her departure rocks Washington

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With news of Nikki Haley's surprise departure from her role as ambassador to the U.N., Republican lawmakers and other ambassadors took time to praise her leadership and "moral clarity" in her Cabinet role.

President Trump announced Tuesday Haley would be leaving his administration "at the end of the year." He called Haley a "very special" person, adding that she informed him six months ago she might want to take some time off. Trump said together they had "solved a lot of problems."

Haley "has done an outstanding job" in her role as ambassador, fellow South Carolinian Lindsey Graham said. The GOP senator said Haley "showed a level of effectiveness rarely seen by someone in this position."

"She is a clear, concise voice for American leadership, American values, and has been a true agent of reform when it came to the United Nations," Graham said in a statement. "Nikki 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."


Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — who Haley initially endorsed in the 2016 presidential election — called her a "strong voice for the U.S. [and] for moral clarity at the U.N."

"America was blessed to have her representing us. We thank her [and] her family for their service to our country [and] the cause of freedom [and human rights]," Rubio said in a tweet.

Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., praised Haley for being a "tireless leader" who supported Trump's agenda.

"She made sure the American people's voice was heard across the globe, [and] she did it with poise [and] strength," Duncan said. "Thankful for her leadership. She has made our state [and] nation proud!"

"Nikki Haley has set a new standard for what American leadership at the U.N. should look like," said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. "She stood with our allies and held our adversaries accountable, even when it required standing alone on the world stage. We will miss her, but we are all better off thanks to her service."

Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said, "America is stronger [because] of your persistent work to advance democracy, human rights and stability around the world." He said the committee is ready to work with her for the remainder of the year on issues concerning North Korea and Iran.

"Thank you to [Nikki Haley] for being the strong voice [and] force America needed at the U.N. She will be missed in the administration, but I'm grateful for her service [and] dedication to our country," Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said.

Israel's ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon thanked Haley for her support for Israel and for "standing with the truth without fear."

"Wherever you are, you will continue to be a true friend to the State of Israel," Danon said in a statement.

The Trump administration has had a high level of turnover in its first couple of years — something that did not go unnoticed with the news of Haley's impending departure.

Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking member for the Foreign Relations Committee, said the announcement was "yet another sign of the Trump administration's chaotic foreign policy and setback from promoting American values and priorities."

"I am deeply concerned about the leadership vacuum she leaves and the national security impact of her departure at a time of continued disarray for this administration," Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, said in a statement.

He then continued to thank Haley for "her willingness to express moral clarity to the world and to President Trump, and promote American values and leadership on the global stage, even when she lacked the backing of the White House or State Department."

"More instability in an already unstable Trump administration," Rep. Sandy Levin, D-Mich., commented on Twitter.

Fox News' Ben Evansky and The Associated Press contributed to this report.