Donald Trump’s former ambassador to the UN says she was told to oppose the president’s policies by key figures in his administration.
Nikki Haley, who quit her role in October 2018, has revealed in an upcoming memoir that then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson and then-White House chief of staff John Kelly told her that they were trying to “save the country”.
Ms Haley, 47, writes in With All Due Respect that she was “shocked” by the request which was made during a closed-door meeting lasting more than an hour.
“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… Tillerson went on to tell me the reason he resisted the president’s decisions was because, if he didn’t, people would die.”
At the time, she reasoned that the pair were only trying to put their own imprint on Mr Trump’s policies, but now she writes that “they should’ve been saying that to the president, not asking me to join them on their sidebar plan”.
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“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.”
Mr Trump fired Mr Tillerson in March 2018 and Mr Kelly that December.
Later, Mr Tillerson said the president was “undisciplined” and did not like to read briefing reports, while his former boss described him as “dumb as a rock”.
Ms Haley, a former governor of South Carolina, is widely seen as a leading potential presidential candidate in 2024.
In the book, she admits she had her own differences with the president, objecting when Mr Trump said “both sides” had been to blame for the violence at a white supremacist march in Charlottesville in which a woman died.
“A leader’s words matter in these situations. And the president’s words had been hurtful and dangerous. I picked up the phone and called the president,” she writes.
The former ambassador says she told Mr Trump privately he had ceded authority to Russian President Vladimir Putin after the two leaders met in Helsinki in 2018.
But she is firmly opposed to the impeachment process, she told the Washington Post, even though it is wrong for a president to ask a foreign power to investigate a political opponent, as Mr Trump is accused of doing with Ukraine over Joe Biden.