Here are two stories about the Trump administration’s search for a new ambassador to the United Nations in the wake of Nikki Haley’s surprise resignation earlier this week.
President Donald Trump’s aides are urging him to replace departing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley with another woman, hoping the move would help shore up support among female voters before the midterms, three people familiar with the matter told POLITICO.
Staffers are especially keen to name a woman to the position with the midterms fast approaching and Trump polling at low levels among the female electorate, particularly after his second Supreme Court pick, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, faced allegations of sexual misconduct and assault.
“The political shop thinks it’s very important to announce a woman before Election Day because of the president’s approval rating and the Kavanaugh stuff,” said one source in regular contact with the president, although others added that pressure to appoint a woman is coming from across the White House.
From Axios this afternoon (emphasis, as ever, theirs):
The more consequential internal White House debate over UN ambassador isn’t over who’ll replace Nikki Haley, but over whether it should remain a Cabinet-level position.
Between the lines: National Security Adviser John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo all think the role should report to the Secretary of State, per sources familiar with their thinking.
The first idea—that picking a woman to be the UN ambassador is going to somehow magically fix the Republican deficit with women, which a CNN poll released yesterday showed was at a full 30 points—is profoundly stupid. Not only is the identity of the UN ambassador something which no one in the entire United States is going to base their vote on, the current ambassador to the UN is already a woman. That has not helped. One solution, if Republicans were interested in it, would be to stop elevating accused sexual predators and enablers of sexual predators to power. This, as the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation proved, was too difficult for them.
The second idea—stripping the UN ambassador of Cabinet-level authority—shows the extent to which the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party has taken over the White House. During the Bush administration, John Bolton was an ambassador to the UN who once famously said, “There is no United Nations.”
As Axios notes, both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush demoted the UN representative to below Cabinet status. When former President Barack Obama reversed that decision, Bolton told the New York Times: “One, it overstates the role and importance the UN should have in U.S. foreign policy. Second, you shouldn’t have two secretaries in the same department.” In other words, the UN—at least theoretically—is the only obstacle to the wars which people like Bolton are just itching to do.
One of the central questions of the Trump administration is whether they’re evil or stupid. The answer is both.