U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley took to the Washington Post to chastise her alleged colleague in the Trump administration who published an op-ed anonymously at The New York Times to say they were actively undermining the president.
Ambassador Haley said in her own op-ed that she doesn’t always agree with the president but that there’s a right way and wrong way to address those differences. If they cannot persist or succeed, Haley says they should resign.
What this anonymous author is doing is very dangerous. He or she claims to be putting the country first, and that is the right goal. Everyone in government owes a greater loyalty to our country and our Constitution than to any individual officeholder. But a central part of our democracy requires that those who work directly for the president not secretly try to undermine him or his policies. What the author is describing is an extra-constitutional method of addressing policy disputes within the administration. That’s wrong on a fundamental level.
If the author truly is a senior administration official, then he or she has the kind of access to the president I described. If that is the case, this official has ample opportunity to try to persuade the president to change course. If the author is frustrated by an inability to persuade the president, then he or she is free to resign.
Haley cut to the heart of the general distaste I and many I saw agree with that this person is acting dangerously, no matter how much I or any other American disagrees with President Trump.
Taking this course sows mistrust among the thousands of government workers who do their jobs honestly every day. It unfairly casts doubt on the president in a way that cannot be directly refuted because the anonymous accuser’s credibility and knowledge cannot be judged. It encourages U.S. adversaries to promote their hostile claims about the stability of our government.
What’s more, by throwing gas on a fire of endless distraction, the author and the frenzied media reaction to the op-ed have hurt all of us trying to do our jobs for the country.
Haley also went on to say that while “dissent is as American as apple pie,” the idea that a top official acting against any administration, whether at the state or federal level is un-American.
As a former governor, I find it absolutely chilling to imagine that a high-ranking member of my team would secretly try to thwart my agenda. That is not the American way. It is fundamentally disloyal, not just to the chief executive, but to our country and our values.
Haley also talks of when she disagrees with the president:
If I disagree with something and believe it is important enough to raise with the president, I do it. And he listens. Sometimes he changes course, sometimes he doesn’t. That’s the way the system should work. And the American people should be comfortable knowing that’s the way the system does work in this administration.
What’s happening here is two-fold. First, Haley is playing it smart by going after the anonymous writer, which will score her some points with Trump. But she also makes clear that she’s independent. She doesn’t just play the part of the wilting flower to Trump’s bullying.
That shows how smart she is and how savvy she is, politically.