Update (11:00 am ET): During their joint press conference, Trump offered effusive praise of Haley, saying she earned the respect of foreign diplomats during her time as UN ambassador. He added that “maybe” she will be coming back at some point, and that she could have “her pick” of jobs in the administration.
When her turn came, Haley praised the administration’s “follow-through” on its foreign policy aims and her success in cutting $1.3 billion from the UN budget.
“countries may not like what we do but they respect what we do. They know that if we say we’re going to do something we follow it through.”
In a recap of her stint as UN ambassador, Haley praised Trump’s decision to move the US embassy in Israelfrom Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying “we will put our embassy where we want to put our embassy.”
She also offered praise for other senior administration figures, including Jared and Ivanka, claiming that Jared was a “hidden genius” for his work on the revamped Nafta deal (now officially known as USMCA).
Before leaving her position at the end of the year, Haley said she hopes to make sure “everything is in the right place” for when the next ambassador arrives. And while she “doesn’t have anything set” on what she’s doing next, she did confirm that “no I will not be running in 2020” adding that she’s a “believer in term limits” and wants to give “someone else a shot.”
When reporters pressed her about her reasons for leaving, Haley denied that she was leaving for “personal reasons” and reiterated her claim that she felt it was time to “step aside” and that “the truth is I want to make sure this administration has the strongest person to fight.”
When reporters reverted to questioning Trump, the president said his administration had avoided serious foreign policy pitfalls – like the outbreak of a hot war with North Korea – that many of Trump’s critics had warned would be all but inevitable should he set foot in the Oval Office.
“Look at North Korea, it was a potentially devastating problem and now it’s looking very good.”
Haley, Trump said, played an important role in reestablishing international respect for the US.
“We are respected again – that I can tell you. Very much respected again. Even if you look at the votes in the United Nations – where we would normally get no votes we are getting very strong votes now.”
He added that the way in which Haley is leaving her position is “the right way to do it.”
“It’s a great position – I think she’s helped make it a much better position. I think it’s become a more glamorous position than it was a few years ago. She’s made it a more important position. So I can say we have very many people who want to do it and they are very good people.”
Trump also revealed that ‘we’re talking about three or four different locations’ for the upcoming summit with North Korea, adding that he’d love to remove sanctions but that “we have to get something.” “Eventually we’ll have meetings on US soil and on their soil also.”
“I think North Korea is going to be a very economically successful country. Banks are calling they’re wanting to go there…and that’s one of the reasons we’re having very successful conversations.”
Asked about the timeline for naming a successor to Haley, Trump said he expects to appoint someone within the next “two or three weeks.” Asked about the missing Saudi journalist, Trump said he knows “nothing” about the situation but that he would be asking the Saudis for more information.
Unable to restrain himself from taking a shot at his former rival Hillary Clinton, Trump answered a question about Hillary Clinton’s warnings on how to handle Saudi Arabia with “I guess that’s why she lost.” Meanwhile, Trump said Pompeo’s latest meeting with China (a meeting that ended in a dramatic public confrontation) went “very well.”
Turning to the often uncomfortable subject of the timing of a US-China trade deal, Trump insisted that “China wants to make a deal, but they’re not ready yet. That’s why I’ve canceled a couple of meetings.”
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