Nikki Haley is on her way out at the United Nations, but she may not be gone from national politics for long.
The former S.C. governor and current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has been mentioned as a potential running mate for Republican President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, according to sources who spoke with the New York Times.
Haley would replace Vice President Mike Pence on the ticket, sources say, a move that could improve the ticket’s popularity among women voters.
That would be a huge surprise. While Haley is almost certainly not done with politics, she is widely thought to be angling for a high-paying job in the private sector.
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However, the Times reported, Trump is concerned about his relationship with Pence, asking aides if they think the vice president is still loyal to him.
The president is reportedly still upset that during the 2016 campaign, Pence put out a disapproving statement about Trump’s comments on an “Access Hollywood” tape in which the future president bragged about grabbing women’s genitals.
Trump himself pushed back against the Times story in a series of tweets on Saturday, calling it a “phony story.”
“They made up sources and refused to ask me, the only one that would know, for a quote,” Trump tweeted. “I can’t imagine any President having a better or closer relationship with their Vice President then the two of us.”
Haley has been a key spokesperson for Trump on the international stage. She is reportedly close with Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, an adviser to the president.
The Lexington Republican received a sit-down with Trump in the Oval Office to announce she was stepping down as ambassador, perhaps the most cordial exit from the Trump administration to date.
But Haley also has been critical of the president. At a charity fundraiser in New York after she announced her resignation, Haley made some jokes at the president’s expense.
“When the president found out that I was Indian American, he asked me if I was from the same tribe as Elizabeth Warren,” Haley told the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in October.
But a spot on the Republican Party’s national ticket could help Haley position herself for the future. The former S.C. governor is considered a potential future presidential candidate herself, possibly as early as 2024.