I have to hand it to United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Her resignation, which she announced today in the Oval Office sitting next to the president of the United States, was done without the usual rhetorical public flogging that has accompanied so many of previous Cabinet officials’ departures.
Donald Trump, for instance, notified former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of his firing via Twitter. That came after several days of public speculation about what his future held.
Former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt endured weeks of publicity regarding his use of public money; former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price endured much the same kind of (mis)treatment; Veterans Secretary David Shulkin was hung out to dry before he got shown the door.
And, of course, we have staff-level jobs that changed hands in messy, turbulent manners. Chief of staff Reince Priebus, national security advisers Michael Flynn and H.R. McMaster, communications director Anthony Scaramucci, press secretary Sean Spicer … all left amid chaos and confusion.
Haley’s departure was vastly different. It came as a legitimate surprise to the media and to many Trump administration officials.
It goes to show, I suppose, that it actually is possible for the president to keep a secret, given that he knew of her plans to depart several days in advance. It also is possible for him to announce a key administration departure with a semblance of class.
Will it continue? Do not bet the farm on it.