The Slatest

Nikki Haley Says Tillerson, Kelly Urged Her to Undermine Trump to “Save the Country”

Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) speaks to the press with US President Donald Trump (C) and then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (R) on August 11, 2017, at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) speaks to the press with US President Donald Trump (C) and then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (R) on August 11, 2017, at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
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Nikki Haley, the former U.N. ambassador, claims in her new memoir that two senior officials in President Donald Trump’s White House urged her to join them in opposing some of his policies for the good of the country. Haley claims in With All Due Respect that then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and then-White House chief of staff John Kelly both tried to get her to undermine Trump for the greater good.

“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 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.” By Haley’s telling, the two officials painted themselves as heroes who were literally saving lives. “Tillerson went on to tell me the reason he resisted the president’s decisions was because, if he didn’t, people would die,” she wrote.

Haley said she found the whole thing shocking. “Instead of saying that to me, they should’ve been saying that to the president, not asking me to join them on their sidebar plan,” Haley wrote. “It should’ve been, ‘Go tell the president what your differences are, and quit if you don’t like what he’s doing.’ But to undermine a president is really a very dangerous thing. And it goes against the Constitution, and it goes against what the American people want. And it was offensive.”

Haley remains popular among Republicans and the book appears to be another effort to slightly distance herself from Trump on some issues while broadly remaining a defender of his presidency. Speaking to the Washington Post, Haley said that while she disagreed with Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate a political rival, she also opposed impeachment. “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.

When asked to respond, Kelly told CBS that “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.” Tillerson did not respond to a request for comment.