In her new memoir to be released Tuesday titled “With All Due Respect,” Donald Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley claims that two top White House officials tried to recruit her to turn against the president “to save the country.”
Haley, 47, writes that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly tried to convince her to work around and subvert Trump, but she says she refused.
Haley, who was also the governor of South Carolina, describes Tillerson as “exhausting” and imperious, and she claims that Kelly was suspicious of her access to the president, according to a Washington Post article about the memoir based on an advanced copy the paper acquired.
“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 writes. “It was their decisions, not the president’s, that were in the best interests of America, they said.”
Haley goes on to say that the men—both of whom were let go by Trump and then criticized by him publicly—insisted, “The president didn’t know what he was doing.” Tillerson additionally told her that people would die if Trump was unchecked, she says.
The Post says Tillerson declined to comment on Haley’s accusations, but Kelly said that if providing the president “with the best and most open, legal and ethical staffing advice from across the [government] so he could make an informed decision is ‘working against Trump,’ then guilty as charged.”
The Post reports that Haley, who is widely thought to have her own presidential aspirations, gives only “glancing” critiques of her former boss and “distances herself from his excesses.”
She says she backed almost all of the president’s foreign policy decisions while others instead tried to “block or slow down” including Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and Paris climate accord. She says she also agreed with Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Haley, who sat down with the Post for an interview about her memoir, said she did not agree with the current impeachment proceedings based on the Trump’s alleged threat to withhold aide from Ukraine. “There was no heavy demand insisting that something had to happen. So it’s hard for me to understand where the whole impeachment situation is coming from, because what everybody’s up in arms about didn’t happen,” Haley said.“ 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.”
Haley did say she openly disagreed with her boss on a number of occasions, especially in his dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the debacle of a press conference he gave in Helsinki in 2017. She says she also disagreed with Trump’s response to a deadly white supremacist march in Charlottesville the same year, voicing her objection to what she saw as the president’s “moral equivalence” on the matter.
“A leader’s words matter in these situations,” she wrote. “And the president’s words had been hurtful and dangerous. I picked up the phone and called the president.”
Haley did not confirm or deny to the Post whether she has personal White House aspirations. “I’m not even thinking that way. I’m thinking more of, we need to do all we can to get the president reelected,” she said. “And then from there, deciding how I will use the power of my voice. I know I’m too young to stop fighting, I know that. And I know that I need and want to be involved in some way that’s helpful.”