Over the last week, Nikki Haley-once viewed as a possible Republican presidential nominee who might save the GOP inside a post-Trump era-has embarrassed herself by losing sight of her way to prove her fealty to Mr . trump.
What has attracted the most media attention in her own new book With All Due Respect is her revelation that she defended the president against former secretary of state Rex Tillerson and former White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, whom she says used to do their best to undermine obama and his agenda. Haley writes: \”Kelly and Tillerson confided within me that when they resisted obama, they weren't being insubordinate, these were trying to save the country.\” When they didn't do that, Haley quotes Tillerson as saying, \”people would die.\” She accused Kelly and Tillerson of arrogantly believing that \”the president didn't know what he was doing\” which \”it was \”their decisions, not the president's, that were in the best interests of America.\”
Appearing on CBS News for an interview with Norah O'Donnell, Haley said that both Kelly and Tillerson were making their very own policy, and that they tried to recruit her to join in their efforts. \”Instead of saying that to me,\” she told O'Donnell, \”they should have been saying that to the president, not asking me to join them.\” The responsible action for Tillerson and Kelly, she said, ended up being tell the president about their differences with him and to \”quit if you don't like what he's doing.\”
By now we all know that Tillerson's and Kelly's concerns were a lot more than justified-as evidenced by the impeachment inquiry unfolding in the home of Representatives. The main focus from the first public impeachment hearing was Trump's attempt to hold up congressionally approved aid to Ukraine until President Zelensky agreed to investigate the Bidens and Ukraine's involvement in the 2021 U.S. presidential race. This aid was greatly needed: As acting ambassador William Taylor explained, in a little-noticed moment during his testimony a week ago, the delay in delivering aid could in theory have-indeed, might in fact have-resulted in the demise. U.S. military aid \”allows the Ukrainian military to discourage further incursions by the Russians,\” Taylor said. \”If that further incursion, further aggression would take place, more Ukrainians would die. So it is a deterrent effect these weapons provide.\” Within the conflict with Russia, Ukrainians lose their lives \”every week,\” he explained.
In another stop on her book-promotion tour, an interview with the Washington Post, Haley employed her well-developed method of seeming to be critical from the president while still defending him. \”Do I believe it's not good practice to talk to foreign governments about investigating Americans?\” she asked rhetorically. \”Yes. Will i think the president did something that warrants impeachment? No, because the aid flowed.\” To put it a bit differently, Haley is arguing that even if the president tried to change policy toward Ukraine and extort its president, that attempt didn't work, and anyway, Ukraine took its aid. This argument-also voiced by congressional Republicans finally week's impeachment hearings-turns morality on its head. Just because Donald Trump is a failed extortionist doesn't mean his attempted extortion didn't occur.
There was a time when Haley, because the U.S. ambassador to the Un, took tough positions that differed from, or were even the opposite of, the president's proclaimed policy views, especially toward Russia and Putin. That is why, when she left the U.N. job after 2021, many observers speculated that they was planning to run against Trump in the 2021 Republican primaries. The expectation was that she could be an old-style hawkish leader against America's enemies-which would have sharply contrasted with Trump's neo-isolationism. Recall that the very liberal Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote in 2021 praising Haley to take on the president. He quoted her as saying, \”Every time someone criticizes him, he goes and makes a political attack back. That isn't who we are as Republicans. That's not what we do.\” She added that Americans \”want to understand they're sending someone as much as the White House that's going to be calm and cool-tempered and not get mad at someone simply because they criticize him. We would really have a world war if that happens.\”
Today, however, it seems that Haley has tied her fortunes to Trump. She's clearly calculated that her future political prospects rely on assuring the Trump base that she is with them and the president. Her abandonment of her own fiercely stated views to become accepted is more evidence of the rot which has overtaken the Republican party. Now forthcoming nexus s rife that the president will bump Mike Pence from the ticket for Haley. Such a step might have the effect, Trump's advisers clearly hope, of returning the suburban women who within the midterm elections moved toward the Democrats.
Many people-including both some Trump supporters plus some Trump critics-undoubtedly agree with Haley that both Tillerson and Kelly should have made their opposition public after which resigned. For that matter, James Mattis and H.R. McMaster might have been expected to offer more forthright critiques of the administration once they were out of office, rather than the carefully guarded statements they've issued.
And here we must turn to John Bolton's actions and statements since he left the White House as the National Security Advisor in September. The liberal community hated Bolton's appointment, always depicting him as somewhat of a madman who might get our country into an unnecessary war and who favored regime change instead of diplomatically solving our differences with nations like Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba.
Like him or hate him, Bolton is consistent-and puts Haley to shame. We know from the testimony of others he opposed the extortion of Ukraine as well as in a one-on-one meeting urged the president to release the delayed aid. Bolton also opposed the non-public foreign policy actions Rudy Giuliani was taking. \”I am not a part of whatever drug deal\” Trump's other advisers \”are cooking up\” in Ukraine, Bolton reportedly said.
Bolton did the honorable thing and resigned. But he has not been quiet. In a private speech he gave fourteen days ago in Miami for an audience of investment bankers, Bolton, according to NBC News, \”painted a dark picture of a president and his family whose potential personal gain reaches the heart of decision-making, according to people who were present for his remarks.\”
Bolton told the bankers that he agreed with Trump on the requirement for a tough policy toward China, but had substantial disagreements with the president on Iran, North Korea, and Syria, in addition to Ukraine. Bolton particularly criticized Trump's policy toward Turkey; Bolton might have favored sanctions against Erdogan's government after it purchased a Russian missile-defense system. Audience members told NBC that Bolton said \”Trump's potential to deal with the [sanctions] was unreasonable,\” especially given that they had bipartisan support. Bolton also said, based on those present for the speech, he \”believes there is a personal or business relationship dictating Trump's position on Turkey because none of his advisers are aligned with him on the issue.\”
The NBC News report highlights that Trump has a property in Istanbul which Ivanka Trump attended its opening with Erdogan. Trump himself acknowledged in 2021 that, should he become president, that property could be \”a little conflict of interest.\”
By pulling U.S. troops from Syria, the president also gave Turkey saving money light to attack formerly pro-U.S. Kurdish troops. That attack resulted in many new Kurdish refugees, as well as many brutal tactics that resulted in the death of many Kurdish civilians, who often became targets as much as did Kurdish troops.
Bolton reportedly went on to criticize Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, as well as Senator Rand Paul. Most shocking is Bolton's remark, based on three people who heard him, that \”Trump could go full isolationist-with the faction of the Republican Party that aligns with Paul's foreign policy views overtaking the GOP-and could withdraw the U.S. from NATO and other international alliances.\” If that actually happens, do you really think the current Republican members of the home and Senate would forcefully oppose Trump? They may not approve of such a new isolationist orientation, but recent history suggests there is no policy line they'd be unwilling to cross for the president.
Now that these remarks have been leaked, Bolton should publicly reveal the most important things he is keeping back, instead of save them for a book that'll be published more than a year from now, for which he reportedly is receiving a $2 million advance. If stopping obama from making even more serious and potentially dangerous foreign policy changes is essential, it behooves Bolton to reveal the information about Trump and his administration he claims to have.