The former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has accused former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former Chief of Staff John General Kelley of subordinating President Trump. According to Haley, both sought to ‘save’ the country from Trump.
Tillerson and Kelly had undermined President Trump’s authority during their tenure and attempted to have Haley join them, Haley writes in her book ‘With all due Respect’. She was ‘shocked’ by the request of the two. Kelly and Tillerson confided to Haley that they were resisting the President, not to be disobedient but to save the country, according to Haley.
Trump fired Tillerson in March 2018 – allegedly via Twitter. Tillerson later said the President was ‘undisciplined,’ and did not like to read reports, while also stating that Trump had often asked him to do ‘unlawful things’.
In return, Trump called Tillerson ‘dumb as a rock’. While Kelly was chief of staff, Trump reportedly took issue with his strictness. They parted ways in December 2018.
Since Trump has been President dozens of personnel changes have occurred, which is not a unique scenery, however. Former White House staff have painted a picture of chaotic conditions in insider reports and books.
In the opinion of the Tillerson and Kelly, Trump did not know what he was doing. ‘It would be their decisions, not those of the President, that are in America’s best interests,’ they said, Haley writes. Tillerson explained to her that due to Trump’s erratic behaviour, people might die if they would not continue to subordinate his orders. The meeting lasted more than an hour, and the topic never reappeared afterwards.
‘To undermine a president is really a dangerous thing and it is against the Constitution and against what the Americans want,’ Haley said in a TV interview on Sunday.
Meanwhile, General Kelly responded indirectly by stating to the Washington Post that if the accusations equalled providing Trump with ‘the best and most open, lawful and ethical advice for an informed decision’, he would be guilty.
Prior to her book writing hiatus, Haley had voluntarily resigned on her influential position as Ambassador to the United Nations at the end of 2018 and is said to have high ambitions. Speculation persists that she could replace Mike Pence as Vice President after the 2020 elections.
The book now will not cease these rumours, but likely amplify them. Her words not only indicate a loyalty to Trump but also, perhaps more importantly, to his voters. It sends the message that, while one does not have to concur on the course the President has taken, he has to be respected nonetheless as he remains legitimised by the Constitution. Trump’s base and other conservatives can appreciate this, and it may help her during a potential election bid down the road, and it certainly will not hurt if Trump was indeed to replace Pence with Haley in 2020.