Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley hit the ground running when she accepted the position in the administration of President Donald Trump as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, keeping a higher profile than her immediate predecessors.
That profile and her persona have fueled speculation about Haley's future, according to Politico.
Comparing Haley to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has conducted his job "almost entirely out of public view," the article maintained she had "improbably eclipsed the secretary of state as the country's leading voice on foreign affairs."
"Her ability to navigate the treacherous waters of the Trump administration has renewed speculation about her political future, generating buzz among Republican operatives that she may be Tillerson's heir apparent and a future presidential candidate," according to Politico.
"She's perfectly positioned to inherit the State Department," said a Bush-era foreign policy aide. "She needs a year or two at the U.N. and then she will get the State Department."
Some sources revealed that Haley was originally offered the position of secretary of state, but turned it down because she didn't feel she had enough foreign policy experience. A White House spokesperson denies she was offered the position as head of the State Department.
With appearances on major network news and political shows, Haley has kept a higher profile than those of her recent predecessors. The article also pointed out her particular gift for one-liners.
"I wear heels, and it's not for a fashion statement," she said. "It's because if I see something wrong, we're gonna kick 'em every time."
And, "for those that don't have our backs, we're taking names," she said in her first public appearance on the job.
Her appointment to the position surprised some, especially since she had been openly critical of Trump during his presidential campaign. Yet, she has been able to carve a persona outside of the challenges that have plagued the early days of his administration.
Republican operatives have taken note.
"She has handled herself with decorum and dignity and maintained her credibility over the first 65 days of the administration. Such is the state of the first 100 days that that is an achievement worthy of a gold medal," said Steve Schmidt, who served as John McCain's campaign manager in 2008.
Speculation aside on Haley's future, she appears to be enjoying the job. Schmidt called her "one of the few political leaders, who's had consistently good moments on the political stage over the past few years."
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