President Donald Trump rejected decades of U.S. policy regarding the future of Jerusalem. In the process, he gave U.N. Ambassador and Bamberg County native another major moment in the international spotlight.
As the U.N. General Assembly was voting 128-9 with 35 abstentions to declare Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital "null and void," Haley was taking a hard line.
She threatened the 193 U.N. member states and the United Nations with funding cuts if the resolution was approved.
"No vote in the United Nations will make any difference" on the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, which will go ahead because "it is the right thing to do,” Haley said at the United Nations.
She said "the United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very right of exercising our right as a sovereign nation."
"We will remember it when we are called upon once again to make the world's largest contribution to the United Nations," she said. "And we will remember when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit."
Already, speculation had it that the first female president of the United States may be the former Republican governor of South Carolina and not any Democrat poised to challenge Trump in 2020.
After the U.N. address, Lauren DeBellis Appell, former deputy press secretary for then-Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and assistant communications director for the Senate Republican Policy Committee from 2001-03, wrote for Fox News:
“… It’s becoming more plausible that when our country does elect its first female president, that woman may very well be Republican Nikki Haley.
“As U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Haley’s handling of recent events set her apart as a rising star. Her performance has shown that she has what it takes on the international stage to represent America abroad. Like the president, she refuses to let the U.S. to be bullied by other countries.”
And the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper said editorially:
“Not since Daniel Patrick Moynihan stood before the U.N.'s mock parliament, the General Assembly, and denounced a resolution that would have made the United States an accomplice to the world's anti-Semitism has this country had so impassioned a defender of its rights.
“Her name is Nikki Haley, her title American ambassador to the United Nations.”
Appell was writing with a presidential bid in mind when she further stated, “Haley has already set herself apart as one of the most effective leaders in this administration. She’s fearlessly stepped up, stood out and proven she's not afraid to make the tough calls.”
And those attributes make a mission other than a presidential bid more likely for Haley, at least in the foreseeable future. Changes are coming in the Trump administration in this new year and one may be at the State Department.
Rex Tillerson is widely believed to be on the way out as secretary of state. And should the former Exxon chairman exit the post, Haley is likely to be a leading candidate.
Any criticism of her lack of experience on the international stage is likely to be secondary to her willingness to be a strong voice backing the president in his international positions – as she did at the United Nations related to the Jerusalem issue.
The opportunity would put Haley in a position vital to the nation and give her a high profile that could well establish whether she is a legitimate future contender for the presidency.