Examining Nikki Haley’s conduct

Michael Brendan Dougherty of National Review Online explores recent revelations from former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley’s new book.

The juiciest detail is that then–secretary of state Rex Tillerson and then–White House chief of staff John Kelly approached Haley and tried to involve her in their intrigues to “save the country” from the president himself. …

… Haley rebuffed their approach, though she doesn’t say she reported their insubordinate attitude to the president. …

… Ultimately, Haley is at pains to emphasize that her loyalty to the president is also a loyalty to the voters who put him in office. By respecting the president, even when she disagrees with him or his way of doing things, she’s respecting the voters she may hope to win someday.

One may find this cynical or savvy on her part. I’m not a natural Nikki Haley supporter. I haven’t found her speeches all that impressive. And I tend to be on the opposite side of the intramural conservative debates about foreign policy. But even if one takes Haley to be making a calculated political maneuver by demonstrating “her loyalty to Trump and her independence from him,” we should note that this is precisely the right thing to do constitutionally. And she knows it. Haley told Norah O’Donnell during an interview that cabinet officials and bureaucrats have their duties: “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.”

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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