In her memoir, Nikki Haley strikes a balance between currying favor and keeping distance with Trump

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, shot back into spotlight when The Washington Post revealed some juicy goings on in the Trump administration from her memoir ‘With All Due Respect,” ahead of its Nov. 12 release. In one of the claims made in the book, which could leave Washington in a tizzy, Haley writes that two of President Trump’s senior advisers undermined and ignored him in what they claimed was an effort to “save the country.”

According to the the Post report, Haley declined when former secretary of state Rex Tillerson and former White House chief of staff John F. Kelly sought to recruit her to work around and subvert Trump. Haley also describes Tillerson as “exhausting” and imperious and Kelly as suspicious of her access to Trump.

“Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country,” she 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 also told her that people would die if Trump was unchecked, Haley wrote, according to the Post.

The Post said in the book, “Haley offers only glancing critiques of her former boss, saying she and others who worked for Trump had an obligation to carry out his wishes since he was the one elected by voters.”

This jells with Haley’s repeated efforts to minimize differences with Trump while distancing herself from his excesses, and the Post said in the book she “writes that she backed most of the foreign policy decisions by Trump that others tried to block or slow down, including withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord and the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.”

In an interview with The Post coinciding with the book release, Haley had also dismissed efforts by House Democrats to impeach Trump, saying that while she opposes Trump’s efforts to seek foreign help for political investigations in a call with Ukraine’s president, the President’s actions are not impeachable.

“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,” the Post Haley as saying.

In her book, the Post notes that “Haley points to several examples of disagreements with Trump. She said she went privately to the president with her concern that he had ceded authority to Russian President Vladimir Putin after the two leaders met in Helsinki in 2018 and with her objection to what she called Trump’s ‘moral equivalence’ in response to a deadly white supremacist march in Charlottesville the year before.”

It said Haley’s experience as governor during the 2015 murders of nine black churchgoers inside a historic African American church in Charleston by an avowed white supremacist made Trump’s reaction to Charlottesville painful, when he said “both sides” had been to blame for the violence.

“A leader’s words matter in these situations. And the president’s words had been hurtful and dangerous,” Haley wrote. “I picked up the phone and called the president,” although at the time she did not air her objections publicly.

According to the Post, “Haley also recounts for the first time that she was treated for post-traumatic stress disorder following the Charleston murders. She described bouts of sobbing, loss of appetite and focus, and guilt for feeling that way when the victims and their families had suffered so much more.”

In a CBS interview with O’Donnell that aired Sunday, Haley said Trump was “not appropriate” to demand that four Democratic members of Congress, who are women of color, “go back” to their countries. Three of the women were born in the United States and all are U.S. citizens.

But Haley also defended Trump, saying “I can also appreciate where he’s coming from, from the standpoint of, ‘Don’t bash America, over and over and over again, and not do something to try and fix it.’ ”

The Post said that in the interview, she had also said, “I have found in politics that when you are a woman in politics you encounter two types of people. You encounter people who respect you for your skill and your knowledge and the work that you’re trying to do, and support you in that process. Or you encounter people who disregard you and see you as in the way. That would happen at times.”

But when asked whether she was calling Kelly sexist, Haley said she had no personal quarrel with the retired four-star Marine general, whom she called a patriot. “It’s a way of saying that sometimes he was not as conscious of the job I was trying to do,” she said, and also noted that Trump liked her direct approach and was respectful when they disagreed.

She wrote that each had taken the other’s measure during the Republican primary, when she first backed Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and publicly called on Trump to release his tax returns. Trump tweeted that “the people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!”

“Trump had been kicked, and he was hollering. But what he didn’t know then was, when I get kicked, I holler too,” Haley wrote.

She fired back with what she describes as “Southern-woman code.”

“Bless your heart,” she tweeted.

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.

The Post said, “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.

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

In the book, Haley wrote, “Women are cautious about politics, for good reason. It’s not a pretty business. It’s often hateful. It would be wonderful if we could change our politics in America to make it less nasty and less personal. But until that happens, especially if you’re a woman, you have to stand up for yourself. Always.”

The Post that while the book leaves the door open to a potential return to politics, but is silent about any White House ambitions, in the interview, Haley had waved off the question, saying she will evaluate her next steps year by year.

“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 said, adding, “I know I’m too young to stop fighting, I know that. And I know that I need and want to be involved in some way that’s helpful.”

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