Nikki Haley Calls Out Rex Tillerson and John Kelly for Undermining President Trump

United States U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley address a U.N. Security meeting on alleged Russian chemical attack in Britain, Thursday Sept. 6, 2018 at U.N. headquarters. Britain’s security minister said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin bears ultimate responsibility for a nerve agent attack targeting a former spy in England. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Nikki Haley has a new book out about her time inside the Trump administration. As with any memoir, the hero is usually the author. This one doesn’t appear to be an exception. The book is With All Due Respect. In it, she seems to confirm what many had expected which was that some senior officials actively undermined President Trump in order to carry out their own policies, two, in particular, have, according to her book, something of a Messiah complex.

“Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country,” Haley wrote.

“It was their decisions, not the president’s, that were in the best interests of America, they said. The president didn’t know what he was doing,” Haley wrote of the views the two men held.

Tillerson and others had an obligation to carry out the president’s agenda because he had been elected, not them, Haley wrote. If they disagreed strongly enough, she said they should quit.

“I was so shocked I didn’t say anything going home because I just couldn’t get my arms around the fact that here you have two key people in an administration undermining the president,” Haley said in The Post interview.

She also describes, from her point of view, being left twisting in the wind by White House staffers:

The book’s title is a reference to Haley’s comment last year publicly refuting an assertion by White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow that she had suffered “momentary confusion” about forthcoming U.S. sanctions on Russia.

In a detailed blow-by-blow account, Haley wrote that she had gone on television at the request of the White House to address the U.S. response to a deadly April 2018 Syrian chemical weapons attack and the U.S. view that Russia was complicit. When asked about punitive sanctions, Haley said she answered with the latest information she had, which was that Trump had approved new sanctions that would be announced shortly.

But Trump had changed his mind and no one told her, Haley wrote, and then White House staffers hung her out to dry. The Post reported at the time that Trump changed his mind after Haley spoke.

Haley said when a promised White House statement holding her blameless failed to materialize later that day or the next, she gave Kelly a deadline of the close of the following day — a Tuesday — before she went public. Kudlow’s remark to reporters on that Tuesday afternoon was evidence that Kelly did not intend to “fix this,” she wrote.

Bucking some members of her staff who urged her to let it slide, Haley told a reporter: “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”

Kudlow called within 15 minutes to apologize, and then went public with a mea culpa.

Part of Haley’s aggressiveness in these situations was undoubtedly due to her experience running for and serving as Governor of South Carolina. Long-time readers will recall that RedState was not only early to endorse and support Haley but we were actively on her side when the “good ol’ boy” network that supported the guy who was supposed to be the Anointed One started flogging scurrilous rumors about her. One South Carolina blogger actually claimed to have had an affair with her. In that kind of snake pit environment you either get tough, aggressive, and assertive…or you get eaten alive. Haley survived and thrived as governor.

One can’t help but read the book and think that Haley has her eye on 2024. She spells out differences she had with Trump, but she handled them privately and respectfully rather than by activating the Virtue Signal and letting everyone know. She wasn’t part of the Big Brain cabal who dismissed Trump as an idiot, rather she did her best to carry out the foreign policy of the United States as directed by the President, not the foreign policy our self-proclaimed ruling class wanted. That’s how we moved our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. And, rather than Armageddon, we’re seeing a marginalization of Palestinian radicals and Israel slowing integrating into the political and economic life of the region.

I hope Haley does run in 2024 because it would be great if our first woman president was actually qualified in experience and temperament to hold the job…unlike the side of beef they tried to foist upon us in 2016 and the other first that was elected in 2008.

Managing Editor at RedState
Former infantry officer, CGSC grad and Army Operations Center alumnus.
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