October 9, 2018 at 10:46 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Nikki Haley resigns as US ambassador to UN

Nikki Haley, gay news, Washington Blade

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley resigned on Tuesday.

Haley in her resignation letter to President Trump wrote the U.S. “achieved great success at the U.N.” during her tenure, which include efforts to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program and publicly criticizing Russia and other countries.

“Through it all, we stood strong for American values and interests, always placing America first,” she wrote. “I am proud of our record.”

Haley in her resignation letter, which is dated Oct. 3, said she will remain in her position until January 2019. She told Trump during a meeting at the White House on Tuesday that she does not plan to challenge him in 2020.

“I expect to continue to speak out from time to time on important public policy matters, but I will surely not be a candidate for any office in 2020,” wrote Haley in her resignation letter. “As a private citizen, I look forward to supporting your re-election as president, and supporting the policies that will continue to move our great country toward even greater heights.”

Haley was the governor of South Carolina when then-President-elect Trump announced her nomination less than a month after the 2016 presidential election. Haley, who was critical of Trump during the campaign, endorsed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) before her state’s Republican primary.

Haley has publicly condemned the ongoing crackdown against gay and bisexual men in Chechnya.

Haley has also publicly acknowledged Pride month.

She met with Caitlyn Jenner in July 2017 to discuss global LGBTI rights issue. The U.S., along with France and Brazil, a few months later successfully blocked efforts to remove a reference to discrimination that includes sexual orientation from an Olympics resolution at the U.N.

“The Olympics is an event that should focus on what brings us together – friendly competition by the world’s best athletes – not what makes us different,” Haley told the Washington Blade in a statement. “No athlete should face discrimination of any kind when representing their country in the games.”

Haley’s tenure coincided with mounting criticism over the Trump administration’s foreign policy.

LGBTI rights advocates were among those who sharply criticized the U.S. over its decision to withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council in June.

The U.S. in September 2017 voted against a council resolution that included a provision condemning the death penalty for those found guilty of committing consensual same-sex sexual acts. An American official told the Blade the U.S. backed language in the resolution “against the discriminatory use of the death penalty based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, while also requesting changes to make the larger resolution in accordance with U.S. law” that says the death penalty is legal.

Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo on Tuesday in a tweet said Haley “was a total class act as U.N. ambassador” and “always had an open door for Log Cabin Republicans.”

“[She] never hesitated to stand up for LGBT human rights during her tenure,” he said.

Council for Global Equality Chair Mark Bromley’s reaction to Haley’s resignation was more mixed.

“We appreciated her open door and willingness to discuss human rights concerns with us, even though we disagreed on some U.N. tactics, including her decision to pull out of the UN Human Rights Council,” Bromley told the Blade. “The Human Rights Council is the primary U.N. institution charged with documenting and responding to human rights violations targeting LGBTI individuals and other at risk communities globally. It has many faults, but the United States should be at the table fighting to make it better. And while we regretted the decision to withdraw, we appreciated the frank discussions we had with Ambassador Haley and her staff.”

OutRight Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern largely echoed Bromley.

“We appreciated that Nikki Haley went on record noting the need for justice for LGBT people,” Stern told the Blade. “We also disagreed strongly on many issues.”

The Trump administration has not publicly said who it will nominate to succeed Haley. U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, Ivanka Trump and former Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell are among those who have been cited as potential replacements.

“We hope that her successor and the rest of her U.N. staff will remain engaged in support of human rights for LGBTI and other minority communities in an increasingly hostile global landscape,” Bromley told the Blade.

Stern agreed.

“We wish that the next U.S. ambassador to the U.N. is someone who values the multilateral system, engages respectfully with other countries, and recognizes the importance of universal human rights.” she said.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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