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Nikki Haley Says Tillerson And Kelly Defied Trump To ‘Save Country’

Ambassador Nikki Haley Addresses the U.N. Human Rights Council
Ambassador Nikki Haley Addresses the U.N. Human Rights Council in June, 2017. (Photo: U.S. Mission/Eric Bridiers

Nikki Haley’s new book is just one in a series of forthcoming insider accounts from former Trump administration officials.

Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley claims that two former senior Trump advisers, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and then-White House chief of staff John Kelly, tried to recruit her to subvert the president’s leadership in order to “save the country.” Haley makes the claim in her new book, With All Due Respect, joining a series of Trump insider accounts depicting a chaotic White House.

“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 writes in the book. “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.”

Kelly responded to the allegation, claiming that if providing Trump “with the best and most open, legal and ethical staffing advice from across the [government] so he could make an informed decision is ‘working against Trump,’ then” he was “guilty as charged.” Tillerson declined to comment.

Haley condemns her subordinates’ disloyalty to the president in the book, inviting reflection into her role within the administration as one of the president’s strongest surrogates.

Haley explains how she clashed with Tillerson and Kelly on numerous occasions. In one Oval Office encounter, the former U.N. ambassador pushed to cut funding for the agency that supports Palestinians, while Kelly and Tillerson countered that the move would lead to destabilization and loss of U.S. influence.

The episode represented only one of Haley’s fierce defenses of Israel’s Palestine policy, as she responded “to the killing of 62 Palestinians in a single day in Gaza in May 2018 by praising Israeli ‘restraint’ and then walked out of the U.N. Security Council chamber as the Palestinian ambassador began making his statement,” the Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan explains.

Hasan believes Haley’s support for the Trump administration’s Palestine and Iran policies, as well as the Paris Agreement withdrawal and the zero-tolerance immigration crackdown, as warranting of the American Civil Liberties Union description of the former ambassador “as a key player in the Trump administration’s campaign to undermine universal human rights and international bodies.”

The Washington Post describes the former South Carolina governor as potential 2024 presidential candidate, with analysts interpreting her attempts to “minimize differences with Trump while distancing herself from his excesses” as a broader political calculation.

Haley’s book includes her view of the impeachment proceedings, arguing that while Trump’s actions were “not good practice” they are insufficient to warrant impeachment.

“There was no heavy demand insisting that something had to happen. So it’s hard for me to understand where the whole impeachment situation is coming from, because what everybody’s up in arms about didn’t happen,” Haley said.

“So, do I think it’s not good practice to talk to foreign governments about investigating Americans? Yes. Do I think the president did something that warrants impeachment? No, because the aid flowed,” she said, referring to nearly $400 million in sidelined military aid. And, in turn, the Ukrainians didn’t follow up with the investigation.”

Haley was not originally a Trump loyalist. She first supported Sen. Marco Rubio in the 2016 presidential election and pressured Trump to release his tax returns. After Rubio’s campaign retired she backed Ted Cruz, saying that Trump “has definitely contributed to what I think is just irresponsible talk.” Trump  tweeted that “the people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!”

Haley then said that while she would support fellow Republican Trump over Hillary Clinton in the general election, she clarified that she was “not a fan of either one.” Her rapid transformation into fierce Trump ally has led critics like the Nation’s John Nichols to view her as an opportunist and “self-serving and self-promoting politician.”

In a recent interview, Haley denied harboring greater political ambitions:

“I’m not even thinking that way. I’m thinking more of, we need to do all we can to get the president reelected. And then from there, deciding how I will use the power of my voice,” Haley told the Washington Post.

Haley’s new book joins a series of lucrative, highly demanded insider accounts of the Trump White House. Former national security adviser John Bolton has reportedly signed a $2 million book deal with Javelin Literary Agency, “whose clients include former FBI director James Comey and the anonymous Trump administration official whose book, A Warning, comes out on 19 November,” as per the Guardian.

Peter Castagno

Peter Castagno is a co-owner Citizen Truth.

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