As soon as Nikki Haley announced she was resigning as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at the end of the year, rumors began to swirl that President Donald Trump might select his daughter Ivanka as her replacement.
Trump, for his part, was happy to stoke the flames, saying that Ivanka would be “dynamite” as ambassador to the United Nations.
"I don't think there would be anyone more competent in the world,” he said.
The rumors became so prevalent that Ivanka herself issued a statement denying them, after a report earlier that she'd “laughed at the speculation this morning.”
Trump also publicly worried that he would be accused of nepotism if he appointed his daughter to an official role in his Cabinet. It would also be arguably illegal: It’s against the law for any U.S. official — including the president — to appoint a relative to a subordinate civilian status position, according to 5 U.S.C. Section 3110.
Of course, Ivanka already holds an office in the West Wing and works in a capacity for the White House that is unprecedented for an immediate relative of a modern president. But legal experts don’t agree on whether there could be a legal case against Trump for her current employment, and Trump’s Justice Department also declared that the president has broad power to appoint his “personal staff,” which isn’t included under nepotism laws.
The rumors weren’t completely baseless. Adding fuel to the fire, Ivanka went on a Twitter-following spree of accounts operated under the Department of Defense. And during her televised announcement, Haley offered glowing praise to Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband with whom she works closely, calling him the “hidden genius” of the Trump administration.
Other reports indicate, however, that Ivanka isn’t really in the running. An anonymous source told NBC News, for example, that, “Ivanka is very happy in the capacity in which she is serving the administration and is not considering any changes.” More names have since entered the conversation as possible replacements for Haley, including former Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell and U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. And as for Ivanka?
Cover image: WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 09: White House Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump listens to U.S. President Donald Trump announce that he has accepted the resignation of Nikki Haley as US Ambassador to the United Nations, in the Oval Office on October 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Trump said that Haley will leave her post by the end of the year. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)