President Trump said Tuesday that he’ll name a successor to outgoing United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley in the next few weeks, amid widespread speculation over who can fill her shoes.
Haley surprised staff and lawmakers alike with her abrupt resignation announcement, saying it's time to step aside though she'll stay through the end of the year. Speaking alongside Haley in the Oval Office, the president did not give any hints to who would replace Haley at the U.N., but added there “are a number of people who would like to do it.”
Trump said he will most likely choose Haley’s successor “in the next two or three weeks – maybe sooner."
One name already being floated as a possible replacement for Haley is U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell.
Grenell spent eight years serving as a U.S. spokesman and political appointee to the United Nations under the George W. Bush administration -- making him the longest-serving U.N. appointee in history. From that role, he is known to be close with Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton, a former U.N. ambassador.
Along with Grenell, other names being floated to replace Haley include U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Hunstman, Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Heather Nauert, former deputy national security adviser Dina Powell, and even first daughter Ivanka Trump.
Haley apparently told Trump six months ago she was planning to leave the post at the United Nations, and her move was a closely guarded secret inside the administration. Congressional Republicans involved in foreign policy matters and some key U.S. allies did not get advance word from Haley or the White House.
Trump said he wanted to make the announcement of Haley’s departure in person to ward off any speculation that there was bad blood between the president and his ambassador.
“This is an appropriate way of doing it,” Trump said, calling Haley a “very special” person.
Haley, 46, was appointed to the U.N. post in November 2016 and last month coordinated Trump's second trip to the United Nations, including his first time chairing the Security Council.
At the U.N., Haley helped spearhead the Trump administration's efforts to combat what it alleged to be anti-American and anti-Israel actions by the international body.
Last month Haley wrote an op-ed article in The Washington Post discussing her policy disagreements but also her pride in working for Trump. It came in response to an anonymous essay in The New York Times by a senior administration official that alleged a secret "resistance" effort in Trump's administration.
"I proudly serve in this administration, and I enthusiastically support most of its decisions and the direction it is taking the country," Haley wrote. "But I don't agree with the president on everything."
Before she was named by Trump to her U.N. post, Haley was elected the first female governor of South Carolina. She was re-elected in 2014.
Fox News' John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.