Former US Ambassador and South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley, has written a book. While promoting, “With All Due Respect,” Haley sat down with CBS anchor Nora O’Donnell for an in-depth interview sharing her perspective serving in the Trump White House. Haley, an up and coming female star in the Republican line up, served in the Cabinet from January 2017 to December 2018 and left in good standing. During her tenure, she refrained from taking potshots at the President and was instrumental at the UN, both selling and advancing Trump’s policy initiatives. She was not associated with media leaks and by her own accounts, appreciated Trump’s leadership style and willingness to allow all views to be expressed. The President quipped at a media gaggle, “Haley is very competent and a real team player.”
Nikki Haley is hawking a book and making the rounds. The question is, would she invent a falsehood that accused other cabinet members of attempting to sabotage a President? Haley writes in her memoir about a critical exchange she had with then Chief of Staff Kelly and Secretary of State Tillerson, stating emphatically to O’Donnell she felt they undermined the President and his policies. She reports the two men sat her down in private for about an hour and proceeded to explain their intense disagreement with Trump’s Iran deal pullout, Paris Climate Agreement withdrawal, and the moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Haley went further using the term “Recruit ” when conveying they approached her to undermine Trump in her UN Ambassador role.
Haley accused the two of having a “sidebar plan” against the president, saying their behavior went “beyond the Constitution” and was “offensive.” “Instead of saying that to me, they should have been saying that to the president, not asking me to join them on their sidebar plan. It should have been, go tell the president what your differences are and quit if you don’t like what he’s doing,” Haley told O’Donnell. “But to undermine the president is really a very dangerous thing.” Both in the interview and in the book, Haley affirms, “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 quotes the Secretary of State, “Tillerson went on to tell me the reason he resisted the president’s decisions was because, if he didn’t, people would die.” It should be noted during this time frame Tillerson was frequently in Europe meeting with leaders and counterparts discussing their concerns and panic over Trump’s policy proposals. General Kelly was a regular on Capitol Hill, meeting with leaders as a liaison to get those to support Trump’s agenda. If Haley is being truthful, one shudders to think the damage that could be accomplished by creating roadblocks and even blowing up the fruition and success of Trump’s foreign policies.
So, who do we choose to believe? I offer the following to assist in formulating an informed opinion. A cursory review of Interviews and print reveals Haley’s recent revelations align with both men having a documented history of public criticism of both the man in the oval and his policies.
General John Kelly, in the role of Director of Homeland Security, often made public statements on immigration policy, including Country bans and illegal child separation, that was in direct conflict with Trump Policy. Once his role changed to Chief of Staff, he continued to give interviews, which seem to split from White house messaging on policy. Since leaving his executive role, Kelly has directly attacked the President and his policies. There have been pointed statements about President Trump’s daughter Ivanka, and Son-in-law Kushner stating they had “to be dealt with.” On his exit, he gave reporters the tidbit that he warned the President not to choose a “yes man.” Recently he has painted himself as the only one to keep the President from impeachment saying ‘I feel bad that I left, I kept him out of trouble.”
Kelly told reporters that Trump’s Syrian policy is a “Catastrophically bad idea”, Vanity Fair article quotes Kelly as saying “ working for Trump was awful” and he called his border wall a “waste of money and stupid idea.” Kelly has not been shy and seeks media to highlight his conflicted feelings about his time served in the Oval Office and the man he should have been a subordinate to. General Kelly, it should be pointed out, is a decorated General who served his country and lost his son serving in Afghanistan in battle.
Rex Tillerson was not a politician when he was enlisted to serve in the Trump Administration. Tillerson had a decades career at the highest levels in the oil industry and had recently retired as CEO of Exxon Mobile. His contacts with global corporate structures and rapport with world leaders made him attractive to a non-politician like Trump . Especially as the newly elected President entered the global stage under the cloud of Obama Resistance proceeding his every step as he set out to build relationships with leaders around the world. The media was eager to report anonymous sources saying Tillerson was exacerbated by Trump’s leadership style and personal presentation. Early into his new job,” media Sources “claimed The Secretary had called the president a, “Moron, and Idiot, and a Dope.” When questioned by the press, Tillerson chose not to address or correct the report.
On 06/11/19, Rex Tillerson came before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stating his support for the Paris Climate Agreement despite President Trump’s policy to withdraw. “My view didn’t change,” Tillerson said at a hearing on the State Department’s budget. “My views were heard out. I respect that the president heard my views, but I respect the decision he’s taken.”
During Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.) questioning, Tillerson confirmed he did not participate in public appearances and policy statements on the withdrawal announcement. Instead, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, who supported Trump’s policy of withdrawal, took the lead among administration officials in those events. Cnn Reported Democrat Aides stated Tillerson gave testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee saying the Russian President Vladimir Putin was more prepared than President Donald Trump for their meeting in Hamburg, Germany, putting US officials at a disadvantage President Trump tweeted to the world Tillerson was resigning, and he would later say he had been shocked at that news. After his exit, the Washington Post reported on an interview with CBS News’s Bob Schieffer during the dinner to benefit MD Anderson Cancer Center – Roll Tape! Tillerson said Trump is “pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read,” and repeatedly attempted to do illegal things.
There have been rumors that both men over the last two years have been involved with those in the previous administration, holdovers, at State, Homeland Security, and the Pentagon to subvert Trump’s every move. The latest resistance book “Warning,” written by the anonymous Deep Stater, yes the same that wrote the op-ed in NYT, claims that it was Tillerson, Kelly, and Mattis who were on board with invoking the 25th amendment. Although there is no evidence, this ” Anonymous “has any credibility to date.
John Kelly responded within hours of Haley’s interview, giving CBS the following statement: “If by resistance and stalling she means putting a staff process in place … to ensure the (president) knew all the pros and cons of what policy decision he might be contemplating so he could make an informed decision, then guilty as charged.”
Rex Tillerson’s response came twenty-four hours later, telling issuing an adamant denial through media outlets. He told the Washington Post, “During my service to our country as the Secretary of State, at no time did I, nor to my direct knowledge, did anyone else serving along with me, take any actions to undermine the President,.” “My conversations with the President in the privacy of the Oval Office were always candid, frank, and my recommendations straightforward. Once the President made a decision, we at the State Department undertook our best efforts to implement that decision.” Additionally, Tillerson made the point that Haley would not have been in a position to know what he had said as she was “ rarely a participant” in key meetings with him.
So, is Haley just positioning to run on a 2024 ticket and sell books, or is she a patriot defending her country, the constitution, and the president? In her book, she states she went to the president and informed him of the discussion the two men had with her. Only time will shake out all the discrepancies and who can be trusted. But until then, I think we can all agree with her assertion that those closest to the president attempting to supplant his policies and, seed discourse between allied countries, is both dangerous and borders on colluding to be seditious.