WASHINGTON,D.C.— While in her recent memoir, ‘With All Due Respect: Defending America With Grit And Grace’ — the bulk of which dwells on her tenure in the Trump administration—Nikki Haley deftly does a diplomatic dance between currying favor with and distancing herself from the mercurial President Trump.
But in all of her television appearances following the release of her book on Nov. 12, she is unwavering in her fidelity toward her former boss, even vouching for his truthfulness, and for this she has been roundly pilloried by several television talk show hosts and leading columnists and ridiculed for her craven obsequiousness and pandering to Trump, largely seen as a means of ensuring his support for her political future, including the widely speculated presidential run in 2024.
In an interview with NBC’s Today show’s anchor Savannah Guthrie on Nov. 12, when asked if she ever have any doubt about the fitness of this president, she replies, “I never did.”
When pressed by Guthrie if she has any “question about his truthfulness –his ability to tell the truth,” she responds, “I talked to him multiple times and when I had issues, he always heard me out. I never had any concern on whether he could handle the job.”
But, when Guthrie refuses to let her off the hook and asks, “But what about his truthfulness—do you think he was a truthful person,” Haley says, “Yes, in every instance I dealt with him, he was truthful, he listened and he was great to work with.”
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, immediately called her out, saying, “Really? Apparently he makes stuff up in front of all of us…but speaks truth to Nikki Haley. Bless her heart…”
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, host of Morning Joe and a former Republican U.S. Congressman, burned her for selling her soul and offered a warning to his old pal, Vice President Mike Pence: Watch out, because Nikki Haley wants your job.
Scarborough said: “It’s very sad for us, because we’ve always believed that Nikki Haley actually had a chance to be something significant and she’s chosen instead to lie for Donald Trump and to say things that she knows is not true, that Donald Trump knows is not true, that Republicans know is not true and the American people know is not true.”
He said, “I guess really the only conclusion we can reach is, because she wants to be the vice president of the United States,” although Haley had asserted that “it’s not going to happen.”
She told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Nov. 14, who asked her if she would be Trump’s running mate if he asked her, “I know that people like to talk about it. (But) That’s a non-issue,” and argued that the President and Mike Pence “work very well together. They are very strong together.”
John Cassidy, a columnist with the New Yorker, recalled that in January, 2016, Haley, who was then the first female governor of South Carolina, in delivering the GOP response to then President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address at a time Trump was leading the polls in the 2016 Republican primary, although not mentioning him by name, but leaving no doubt about her target, said, “Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference. That is just not true. Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume.”
Haley had endorsed Marco Rubio in the primary and when he dropped out, she backed Ted Cruz, and even after Trump won the nomination, she fell in line behind him but continued to insist that she wasn’t a fan.
In fact, during the campaign, while rooting for Rubio, she asserted at rally that “Donald Trump is everything I taught my children not to do in kindergarten. I taught my two little ones, you don’t lie and make things up.”
Haley also said, “We are talking about a man who has filed for bankruptcy four times. I will not stop until we fight a man who chooses not to disavow the KKK—that is not a part of our party, that is not who we want as president. We will not allow that in our country.”
Cassidy bemoaned, “What a difference a few years can make,” and referring to Haley’s interview to CBS News to promote her new book on Nov. 10, recounted how, when asked whether Trump would ultimately be impeached and removed from office, was entirely dismissive in her response. “No. On what?” she said. “You’re gonna impeach a President for asking for a favor that didn’t happen and—and giving money, and it wasn’t withheld. I don’t know what you would impeach him on.”
“When you look at the transcript, there’s nothing in that transcript that warrants the death penalty for the President,” she insisted. “The Ukrainians never did the investigation. And the President released the funds. I mean, when you look at those, there’s just nothing impeachable there.”
Cassidy argued that “in adopting this see-no-evil posture, Republicans like Haley are confirming Trump’s belief that the normal rules don’t apply to him,” and noted how “Trump said during the 2016 election that he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue without losing any supporters.”
He wrote, “Haley, who is often mentioned as a possible Presidential candidate for 2024, is a prime example of a Republican who is supporting Trump for opportunistic reasons. Despite lacking foreign-policy experience, she spent two years at the United Nations defending Trump’s efforts to thumb his nose at the world by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, and moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
Cassidy said in her new book, “ In a blatant effort to further ingratiate herself with Trump and his supporters, she criticizes Rex Tillerson, the former Secretary of State, and John Kelly, the former White House chief of staff, for trying to work around the President and contain his worst instincts.”
Almost immediately, he notes of how Trump plugged her book on Twitter, writing, “Make sure you order your copy today, or stop by one of her book tour stops to get a copy and say hello.”
Appearing on Fox News on Nov.11,Haley told Sean Hannity, Trump’s ardent surrogate in what was clearly music to his ears, “What you see behind the scenes is someone who really cares about America and wants to do everything he can to strengthen it.”