Nikki Haley's Retort Sends Message to Trump

UN ambassador shows she won't quietly take public humiliation from the White House
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2018 9:30 AM CDT
Nikki Haley's Retort Sends Message to Trump
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley arrives for a Security Council meeting on Wednesday at United Nations headquarters.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Nikki Haley is getting a lot of attention for her not-so-subtle rejoinder to the White House. It all began when the UN ambassador declared that the US would be imposing new sanctions on Russia, only to have President Trump change his mind about them. When Trump economics adviser Larry Kudlow said Haley had suffered from "momentary confusion," she shot back that she doesn't "get confused." Kudlow quickly apologized, but Haley's response is resonating. Coverage:

  • Unusual: At CNN, Jeremy Diamond found Haley's defiance "stunning" given that "public humiliation is a rite of passage for many top officials in the Trump administration." Most, including Rex Tillerson and John Kelly, have gone along with the presidential contradictions in silence.

  • Similar note: Haley's statement made clear she won't tolerate such public humiliations, per an analysis at Politico that sees it a "red line" she has drawn. The story also notes that Haley's influence in the administration is generally on the upswing, given that she routinely clashed with the now-ousted Tillerson on foreign policy but is more in sync with his likely successor, Mike Pompeo.
  • Note of caution: Trump allies are worried that Haley, who is just 46, is putting her own "political brand" ahead of the president's, reports the Hill. "Clearly she has machinations for higher office and will do anything to continue rising, even if it eventually means throwing President Trump and his administration under the bus," says one former White House official.
  • 2020 whispers: One hot rumor in regard to Haley's political future is that she and VP Mike Pence might form a 2020 ticket, reports the New York Times. "Aides to both scoff at such suggestions, but the slightest hint of such a pairing would be likely to enrage" Trump, who has made clear he intends to run again, per the story. The narrative got some legs recently when Pence tried to hire Haley deputy Jon Lerner to simultaneously serve as his national security adviser. Trump reportedly squelched the move upon learning that Lerner had once made anti-Trump ads.
  • Another clash: Haley isn't the only Cabinet member Trump crossed on foreign policy in recent days: He also overruled defense chief Jim Mattis about getting congressional approval for the strike on Syria, reports the New York Times. "These conflicts with top aides—one of them unfolding in the open—show that, in the end, the president will govern how he wants," observes a post at Axios.
  • Colbert weighs in: Stephen Colbert took note of the public spat with Haley. Referring to coverage that the president once heard Haley speaking on TV and angrily demanded, "Who wrote that for her?," Colbert took aim: "Fun fact, Mr. President, not all women are under legally binding agreements about what they can say," he said, per Mediaite. "Some of them just get to talk!"
(More Nikki Haley stories.)

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