Nikki Haley resigns as US ambassador to UN

In what appears to be a shock announcement Nikki Haley has resigned as US ambassador to the UN. She has been seen as very competent at the UN, standing out amongst Trump appointments. She has also been suggest as a good future political candidate, including for the presidency, but she has emphatically said she won’t be standing in the 2020 election. (Is that because Trump has told her he wants to stand again?)

Gezza has been doing some middle of the night coverage.


Aljaz TV reporting:

US PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS ACCEPTED RESIGNATION OF UN AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEY.

TRUMP SAYS SHE WILL LEAVE HER POST AT THE END OF THE YEAR.

New York Times: Nikki Haley Resigned as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

A lot of head-scratching about why she has resigned at this time, just before the mid-term elections. Reasons unclear. Trump’s apparently told her he hopes she returns to the administration & can have pretty much any job she likes. Doesn’t seem to be a disagreement with Trump ?

Showing Nikki speaking to press, sitting with Trump, in those yellow chairs now.

Doesn’t have any set plans. Reviewed all the US has achieved,including getting NATO pay more various other things Trump has pursued like Iran, making the US respected again – if not liked by everybody at least respected & is satisfied. Going out on a high.

She told the president earlier in the year maybe two years would be long enuf. Not leaving until the end of the year, plenty of time to hand over to next UN Ambassador. Thanks Mr President, it’s been an honour. No she’s not running for 2020. She’s campaigning for 2020 supporting the president.

Haley’s & Trump’s press conference.

(Nikki: Jared is a genius & Ivanka is a great friend they do a lot behind the scenes wishes more people knew about. 🙄 ? )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le6eR5cSPsk

Interesting comments from Aljaz UN political editor. Word around the UN is that she is politically ambitious, very politically astute, gone along with Trump because his pro-Israel and other political positions match hers. Very well placed to run in the future as a Republican candidate for first woman President, should she choose to do so and should Trump not be in the running.


That last comment may be the key – ” should Trump not be in the running”. It could be a long political game by Haley.

Fox News:Haley abruptly steps down as UN ambassador in surprise decision, vows she won’t run in 2020

Haley called her time at the U.N. a “blessing,” but offered no reason for leaving other than a belief that government officials must know “when it’s time to step aside.”

Nikki Haley abruptly announced her resignation Tuesday as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, catching staff and lawmakers by surprise and leaving Washington guessing about the next move for one of the administration’s most prominent figures.
Speaking in the Oval Office alongside President Trump, who accepted the resignation, Haley said she would serve through the end of 2018. She preemptively sought to mute speculation she might run against her old boss, stressing that she will support Trump and will not campaign for the White House in 2020.
Haley called her time at the U.N. a “blessing,” but offered no reason for leaving other than a belief that government officials must know “when it’s time to step aside.”

Trump told reporters that Haley did “an incredible job” and is a “fantastic person.” He said she had told him six months ago that she wanted to take a break “maybe at the end of the year.”

Haley called her time at Turtle Bay the “honor of a lifetime” and said there was “nothing set on where I am going to go.” She also praised the work of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, particularly Kushner’s role in re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). She called Kushner a “hidden genius.”

“Now the U.S. is respected. Countries may not like what we do, but they respect what we do,” she said, citing a number of achievements of the Trump administration.

“The U.S. is strong again, it’s strong in a way that should make all Americans very proud,” she told reporters.

On why it’s time to leave, Haley said she’s a believer in term limits and believes it’s good to rotate new government officials in from time to time.

There may be a hidden reason, but sometimes people in high profile, demanding jobs just want to have a break from it.

Also from Fox:

Reuters: Trump’s U.N. envoy Haley quits, denies 2020 ambitions

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is resigning “to take a little time off,” President Trump said, as she became the latest in a long line of high-profile departures from the administration.

Haley, 46, is the latest in a long line of high-profile departures from the administration, such as former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was fired in March, and Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, who left in August 2017.

So interest will now turn to who Trump replaces her with at the UN. Was she signalling a role for Jared Kushner?

 

Nikki Haley’s stand against White House wavering and waffle

President is well known to be unpredictable – he plays on it – but this has often resulted in mixed messages from himself and from White House staff. Discipline and co-ordination are often lacking, to the extent sometimes that the White House looks disorganised and confused. It can certainly be confusing.

This week U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley spoke on Russian sanctions, was slapped down by the White House, but she slapped back, and this prompted an apology.

Weekly Standard editorial: A Failure to Communicate

Tight messaging and internal discipline don’t make a presidency—the Obama administration was extremely disciplined in its public pronouncements, and it was a disaster in almost every respect. But the present administration suffers from an almost total lack of coherence in its communications to the public and that debilitation has consequences beyond mere politics.

The problem can be located in the Oval Office: When President Trump makes a decision, or reverses one, he doesn’t always tell the relevant people.

This week, it was U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s turn.

Haley wasn’t fired but reprimanded—wrongly. On Sunday, April 15, speaking on Face the Nation, she announced the imposition of new sanctions on Russia for its nefarious abetting of Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime. She said what she had thought, almost certainly correctly, was the president’s position: “Russian sanctions will be coming down. Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn’t already and they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use.”

… in this case she appears to have stated exactly what the cabinet had agreed to do.

Only later—evidently without bothering to apprise his subordinates—the president changed his mind. From Mar-a-Lago, Larry Kudlow, the president’s national economic adviser, contradicted Haley. She had, Kudlow told reporters, gotten “ahead of the curve” by announcing the new sanctions; the ambassador may have had “some momentary confusion about that.”

Another White House official told the Washington Post that Haley’s remark was “an error that needs to be mopped up.”

Haley responded to Kudlow curtly. “With all due respect,” she was quoted by Fox News’s Dana Perino as saying, “I don’t get confused.”

Later, and very much to his credit, Kudlow called Haley to apologize. “She was certainly not confused,” he told the New York Times. He was “totally wrong” to speak as he did.

What almost certainly happened is that the president balked on the sanctions, his national security team sans Haley agreed to the change, and either someone forgot to tell Haley or everyone did. This is what happens when a president and his staff haven’t quite established its decision-making process and fails to keep everyone informed.

It seems to be a common failing of Trump and his administration.

Trump famously values unpredictability. We wish he wouldn’t use it so often against his own staff.

It would be good if he didn’t use it so much against the US either. A chaotic presidency is high risk – some things may work out well, due to or despite Trump chaos, but it seems just a matter of time before mistakes or misinformation mires the country in major muck.

Haley has come out of this looking strong and bold, she is one of the star performers of a very mixed administration. And that has refueled speculation about her political ambitions.

The Hill: Haley spat fuels political chatter around White House

Nikki Haley’s public spat with the White House has underscored Trump World’s obsession about the political ambitions of people in the president’s orbit.

Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, raised eyebrows Tuesday when she hit back at the White House after top economic adviser Larry Kudlow accused her of being confused when she prematurely announced new sanctions against Moscow on Sunday.

Nonetheless, the comments had Trump allies saying that Haley is thinking too much of her own political brand.

“Clearly she has machinations for higher office and will do anything to continue rising, even if it eventually means throwing President Trump and his administration under the bus,” said one former White House official.

The White House tried to throw Haley under a bus, but she fought back and won.

It wouldn’t be difficult to look better than Trump (or Hillary Clinton). Haley looks like she would potentially be a big improvement.

A GOP strategist in contact with the White House said “there is no doubt” that Haley has eyes on a higher office, but that it is highly unlikely she will be running for the White House in the near term.

At the age of 46, Haley’s future in politics could go beyond Trump’s presidency — which his supporters expect to last through 2024.

Haley’s defenders say it is natural for her speak out to maintain her integrity when she is criticized publicly.

Integrity stands out amongst the current chaos because it is in short supply.

“She has to stand up for herself because she is being characterized as confused,” said the GOP strategist.

“I think it is a question of competency and she is obviously competent,” said the former White House official when asked about the president’s feelings about Haley.

The ambassador has not become enmeshed in the type of ethics scandals that have plagued other Cabinet heads and her charisma and outspokenness, while grating to some, can be an asset for the president.

“She is a well-spoken female conservative and for better or for worse, that goes a long way with a lot of people. There is a deficit of that in the GOP,” the former official said.

The US could do a lot worse than having Haley as president – like now (deliberate double meaning).

US to cut UN funding

The timing of an announcement that the US has negotiated to cut United Nations funding may be cynical and playing to a domestic audience given it closely follows threats by President Donald Trump that failed to avoid scant US support in a UN vote over Jerusalem, but there could be some justification for trying to reduce the bloat.

AP Press: US says it negotiated $285M cut in United Nations budget

The U.S. government says it has negotiated a significant cut in the United Nations budget.

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations said on Sunday that the U.N.’s 2018-2019 budget would be slashed by over $285 million. The mission said reductions would also be made to the U.N.’s management and support functions.

U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said that the “inefficiency and overspending” of the organization is well-known, and she would not let “the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of.”

She also said that while the mission was pleased with the results of budget negotiations, it would continue to “look at ways to increase the U.N.’s efficiency? while protecting our interests.”

There could be a fine line between reducing inefficiency and overspending, and trying to financially coerce favourable outcomes (or avoid unfavourable outcomes).

The timing of the announcement seems cynical, and suspiciously like an attempt to publicly reprimand.

There may be an aspect of re-prioritising US spending as well, on RCP immediately after the above item is this: Trump administration set to unveil $1 trillion infrastructure proposal in 2018

During the 2016 campaign, Trump first promised to deliver a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to improve the condition of U.S. roads, bridges, airports, and other public works.

Although the administration is working to address the nation’s infrastructure, several major question marks hang over the plan, such as funding.

“The cost is going to be an issue, that’s going to be a large topic of debate,” a senior committee aide told the Washington Examiner.

Saving $285 million on UN spending won’t go far towards that. Neither will the tax cuts that have just been decided on.

NY Post: Nikki Haley negotiates $285M cut in ‘bloated’ UN budget

Haley added that the “historic reduction” in spending is a step in the right direction and that the US would make many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN.

“In addition to these significant cost savings, we reduced the UN’s bloated management and support functions, bolstered support for key US priorities throughout the world and instilled more discipline and accountability throughout the UN system,” the statement said.

The new deal for the 2018-2019 fiscal year is $285 million less than the world body’s staggering $5.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2016-2017.

A ‘more accountable UN’ has an ominous ring to it. If the US genuinely wants to make the UN more accountable then it should campaign to remove the veto power of five nations on the Security Council.

“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out in this assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” Haley told member nations ahead of their vote.

That was contrary to international law.

“We will remember it when, once again, we are called up to make the world’s largest contribution to the UN, and we will remember it when many countries come calling on us to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”

Announcing a budget cut just after making a statement like that could be seen as cynical.

 

US ambassador to the UN says women accusers should be heard

Nikki Haley has said that women who have accused President Trump and others of sexual misconduct “should be heard”.

This is surprising. She is a Trump administration spokesperson as the US ambassador to the United Nations, but domestic accusations of sexual misconduct are outside her responsibilities.

NY Times: Nikki Haley Says Women Who Accuse Trump of Misconduct ‘Should Be Heard’

Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, said on Sunday that women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct “should be heard,” a surprising break from the administration’s longstanding assertion that the allegations are false and that voters rightly dismissed them when they elected Mr. Trump.

Ms. Haley, a former governor and one of the highest-ranking women in Mr. Trump’s administration, refocused attention on the allegations against the president by insisting that his accusers should be treated no differently than the scores of women who have come forward in recent weeks with stories of sexual harassment and misconduct against other men.

“They should be heard, and they should be dealt with,” Ms. Haley said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And I think we heard from them prior to the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.”

Her remarks are the latest indication that the president’s behavior toward women — more than a dozen have accused him of unwanted touching, forcible kissing or groping — may not escape renewed scrutiny.

Democrats have appeared determined to grab the moral and political high ground, largely forcing their accused party members to resign.

Republicans have been more divided: Even as some accused members have stepped down, the party has largely stood by Mr. Trump. And it remains bitterly split over how to respond to the case of Roy S. Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama who has been accused of molesting an underage girl and attempting to date other teenagers when he was in his 30s.

Some of the women who first accused Mr. Trump during the campaign last year have expressed a renewed desire to press their case. Three of them will be interviewed by Megyn Kelly on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday.

So far, though, the upheaval in societal norms about sexual conduct in the workplace has swirled around the president but left him largely unscathed.

Undaunted, the president has used Twitter to mock other men who have been accused, including Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, who announced his plans to resign after several harassment allegations. Mr. Trump has defended and endorsed Mr. Moore, calling the claims against him “troubling” but insisting that he is needed in the Senate to advance the Republican agenda.

Through it all, the White House has repeatedly sought to deflect and discredit any attempt to revisit the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Mr. Trump crudely bragged about kissing women and grabbing their private parts, or to examine again the allegations from the women who came forward weeks before the 2016 election to accuse Mr. Trump of crude sexual behavior.

In recent months, Mr. Trump has privately been casting doubt that the “Access Hollywood” tape is authentic, despite publicly acknowledging shortly after its release in October 2016 that “I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.”

Trump’s past and his hypocrisy and his may yet prove to be too big to sweep under the White House carpet.

The tape suggests Trump crudely accosted women, and a number of women have accused him of unwelcome advances and actions. Actual criminal behaviour is not proven at this stage.

“Russia interference in elections is ‘warfare'”

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia used cyber-enabled means in an attempt to help President Donald Trump win the White House, an allegation the Kremlin has denied.

“We have to be so hard on this and we have to hold them accountable,” Haley said during a panel discussion with former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice held by the George W. Bush Institute in New York on Thursday.

“When a country can come interfere in another country’s elections that is warfare. It really is, because you’re making sure that the democracy shifts from what the people want,” she said. “This is their new weapon of choice and we have to get in front of it.”

That seems at odds with President Trump.

Trump backs off joint cyber security suggestion

Another example of changing stories with Donald Trump, this time after he suggested a joint Cyber security unit with Russia. On Sunday Trump tweeted:

President Trump tweeted Sunday evening that a proposed “Cyber Security unit” operated by the U.S. and Russia “can’t happen,” an apparent reaction to criticism of the idea by Democrats and Republicans.

Trump tweeted:

A bizarre suggestion given all the claims of Russian hacker interference in the US election last year.

Fox News: Trump appears to back off joint ‘Cyber Security unit’ with Russia after criticism

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 election campaign. Russian state actors have been linked to Wikileaks, which published stolen emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

The cybersecurity unit drew widespread ridicule from lawmakers, including two of Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination last year.

Republican senator Lindsey Graham on NBZ’s Mett The Press:

“It’s not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s pretty close”.

Graham also said that Trump has “a blind spot” when it comes to Russia, “and to forgive and forget when it comes to Putin regarding cyberattacks is to empower Putin and that’s exactly what he’s doing.”

Senator Marco Rubio:

Partnering with Putin on a “Cyber Security Unit” is akin to partnering with Assad on a “Chemical Weapons Unit”.

We have no quarrel with Russia or the Russian people. Problem is with Putin & his oppression, war crimes & interference in our elections.

Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter…

…said the move was “like the guy who robbed your house proposing a working group on burglary.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic Party member of the House intelligence committee…

…told CNN’s “State of the Union” that expecting Russia to be a credible partner in any cybersecurity initiative “would be dangerously naive for this country.”

“If that’s our best election defense, we might as well just mail our ballot boxes to Moscow”.

Trump staff tried to defend his suggestion.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley…

…stood up for the initiative, arguing that working with Russia on cybersecurity “doesn’t mean we ever trust Russia. We can’t trust Russia and we won’t ever trust Russia. But you keep those that you don’t trust closer so that you can always keep an eye on `em and keep them in check.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin…

…defended the plan on ABC’s “This Week,” calling the initiative a “very important step forward.”

“What we want to make sure is that we coordinate with Russia, that we’re focused on cybersecurity together, that we make sure that they never interfere in any democratic elections or conduct any cyber security. I think is a very significant accomplishment for President Trump.”

Stuff: Russia confirms Putin-Trump talk on joint cyber security unit

Russia confirmed that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin had discussed forming a joint Russian-US group on cyber security, an idea that has provoked uproar in Washington, but said it was only a tentative proposal.

“The heads of state did talk about such a possibility,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters on Monday (Tuesday NZT).

“Nothing was promised to each other. What is positive, they stated their readiness to work in this direction.”

The conversation had been “about the possibility of forming such a group”, he said.

Svetlana Lukash, a Russian official who was at the Hamburg summit, told a news conference earlier on Monday (Tuesday NZT), Putin and Trump’s discussion of cyber security had taken up 40 minutes of their meeting, which lasted more than two hours.

“President Putin proposed creating a working group,” she said. “This does not mean it should start working immediately, virtually tomorrow.”

She added: “The main thing is, this matter was discussed, the United States is ready to consider cooperation in this sphere, and then we will see.

“Maybe this will be a working group, maybe this will be cooperation on the floor of the United Nations. But in any case, our two countries will need to discuss these questions. This is namely what the presidents agreed upon.” She said of the landmark talks between the two men in Hamburg: “Nobody, except the participants of that meeting, knows how that proposal was formulated and how President Trump reacted.”

But Trump seems to have changed his mind. He has at least changed his tune.

So why did he tweet what he did without qualification?

Why did Mnuchin and Haley defend and support his original tweet?

Why trust anything Trump tweets or says? His staff have been embarrassed by his changing ideas many times.

Trump versus Putin on Russian hacking

There seems to be a stark difference between Vladimir Putin’s account of his discussion with Donald Trump over Russian interference in the US election, and what Trump staff are saying, but Trump himself is remaining vague.

After his meeting with Vladimir Putin in Hamburg Trump said:  I ‘strongly pressed’ Putin on election meddling

“I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it. I’ve already given my opinion…..” the president tweeted.

“…We negotiated a ceasefire in parts of Syria which will save lives. Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!” he added.

Putin earlier in the day said at a press conference that he believes Trump is convinced by his denial that his state interfered.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said at a press conference that Trump accepted the denial.

Trump staff responded:  Priebus: Trump ‘absolutely did not believe’ Putin

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus pushed back Sunday against the Russian account of the meeting President Donald Trump had with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Priebus said Trump did not believe Putin’s claim Friday that Russia had not attempted to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

“The President absolutely did not believe the denial of President Putin,” Priebus said. “What the President did is he immediately came into the meeting, talked about Russian meddling in the US election, went after that issue at least two separate times.”

Priebus said an “extensive portion” of the first meeting between the two leaders was dedicated to the issue and offered what he said was Trump’s position.

“He’s said they probably meddled in the election. They did meddle in the election,” Priebus said. “The one thing that he also says — which drives the media crazy, but it’s an absolute fact — is that others have as well. And that’s true. China has, North Korea has, and they have consistently over many, many years.”

Priebus said Trump’s tweets did not mean Russia was “off the hook.”

UN Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley…

said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Trump was forceful in the meeting, and Russia was “trying to save face” in denying any election interference.

The meeting on Friday was between Trump, Putin, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. After the meeting was over, Tillerson and Lavrov offered different descriptions of the meeting on the election meddling issue. Tillerson said when Trump pressed Putin and he denied involvement, Trump moved on to other topics, while Lavrov suggested Trump had accepted Putin’s denial.

Putin said as much Saturday.

“I repeat, he asked a lot of questions on this matter,” Putin said of Trump. “I answered as many as I could answer. I think he took it into consideration and agreed with it. But you should ask him what his opinion is on that.”

It appears that trump doesn’t want to give his opinion on it. He appears to be avoiding challenging Putin publicly.