It’s been a difficult week for Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who declared to the world on Sunday that the Trump administration would soon announce new sanctions on Russia over its support for the Assad regime in Syria.
What Haley did not know, however, is that Donald Trump would reject that idea, making her declaration wrong. The White House soon after suggested that Haley was “confused,” prompting the ambassador to issue a statement that read, “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”
Haley quickly received an apology and Trump World is moving on – she said yesterday her relationship with the president is “perfect” – but the question is whether she’s worse for wear. Politico made it sound as if the opposite is true.
In the span of 24 hours, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has done what none of her colleagues in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet have before: successfully telegraphed to her boss that she will not quietly suffer his public humiliations.
Well, maybe. Based on what we know at this point, it appears that Trump changed his mind about sanctions, and no one told the ambassador before she made a definitive announcement on national television. The White House, reluctant to acknowledge a change in direction, clearly took steps to blame Haley, and she pushed back accordingly.
But that doesn’t mean this mess has left her in a better position than she was in before.
On the contrary, even under a charitable reading of the developments, Haley was left out of the loop on a major foreign policy decision, and it’s entirely possible the White House did a better job of communicating with Russia than it did with the administration’s own ambassador to the U.N.
What’s more, we suddenly have another example of Haley and Trump failing to remain on the same page about U.S. foreign policy.
The next time she makes an announcement about the Trump administration’s plans, how likely is it that some will wonder whether she’s correct? I’d say it’s a near certainty – and that’s not a good position for a prominent ambassador to be in.