Two top advisers to President Donald Trump ignored or undermined him because “they were trying to save the country,” former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley writes in a new book.
She says both then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House chief of staff John Kelly sought her help in undercutting or working around Trump but she refused, according to the Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the book, “With All Due Respect,” ahead of its release today.
“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.”
She said Tillerson told her people would die if Trump was not restrained.
Haley, a former South Carolina governor of Indian descent, left the UN job at the end of 2018 on good terms with Trump. She has often been touted as a potential future Republican presidential candidate.
Kelly left the White House a few weeks after Haley, reportedly barely on speaking terms with Trump; the president had fired Tillerson -- via Twitter -- in March 2018, after the two had repeatedly clashed.
In the book, Haley supports many of the Trump foreign policy decisions that others in the administration opposed, including the unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreement, as well as the decision to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
But Haley also pointed to several disagreements with the president: over his embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin when they met in Helsinki in 2017, and over Trump’s “moral equivalence” in suggesting there were good people on “both sides” after the deadly white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“The president’s words had been hurtful and dangerous,” she wrote, according to the Post.