Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, raised eyebrows Friday for defending President Donald Trump by stating that she believes the President did not commit an impeachable offense in his dealings with Ukraine.
Although Haley has publicly clashed with the Trump White House, she is one of the few administration members who left on fairly good terms with Trump.
But her comments are raising serious questions about her own political calculus.
In a clip from an upcoming CBS interview with Norah O’Donnell, Haley said, “You’re going to impeach a president for asking for a favor that didn’t happen and giving money and it wasn’t withheld? I don’t know what you would impeach him on.”
Given everything that has come to light about Trump and Ukraine, and with public hearings set for next week, Haley’s comments are ridiculously dismissive. Haley continued in her bizarre attempt to defend Trump and dismiss his impending impeachment by questioning why the American people aren’t involved in the decision.
“I think the biggest thing that bothers me is the American people should decide this,” Haley said. “Why do we have a bunch of people in Congress making this decision?”
Is this former Trump administration official and governor of South Carolina suffering from amnesia? Or did she somehow make it to the highest ranks of government without realizing the Constitution says it is precisely the job of Congress to impeach?
Or could it be that Haley is playing political chess and auditioning for the role of Trump’s new vice president, or even eyeing the Oval Office? Putting aside the fact that she does have a book to promote, this would answer why she is coming out of the woodwork now to defend the President during what is arguably the greatest crisis of his presidency.
Trump is notorious for deflecting and blaming others, so he is likely looking for a fall guy for the Ukraine scandal. Alongside US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, Vice President Mike Pence may be on Trump’s list of people to throw under the bus. If Pence were to leave the scene, Haley could swoop in as his replacement. And on the off chance that Trump ends up resigning, guess who snags the title of Madame President?
Nikki Haley may have done the political math and knows her calculations.
Perhaps the real zinger from Haley’s interview is when she compared the possible impeachment of Trump to the death penalty.
“Impeachment is, like, the death penalty for a public official,” Haley said to O’Donnell. “When you look at the transcript, there’s nothing in that transcript that warrants the death penalty for the President.”
This outrageous comparison really takes the cake. Impeaching Trump is holding him accountable for his alleged crimes. It is nothing like the death penalty. And coming from a former governor and ambassador to the UN, to compare the death penalty to impeachment reveals Haley’s total lack of empathy.
Singer John Legend took to Twitter to respond to Haley precisely on that point.
“It’s not the death penalty,” Legend tweeted. “It’s firing him (Trump) from the most important job in the country because he can’t be trusted with it. Real people are actually sentenced to death. This is not that.”
Legend said Haley seemed like a “bright person” before continuing to call her out.
“You obviously know he’s not morally or intellectually fit for office,” Legend tweeted. “I wish you would admit it for the sake of the nation and your own credibility.”
Legend is right and he hit the nail on the head, especially when he stated that Haley is a very bright person. Just look at her professional resume.
But that resume reflects that Haley has no problem taking a role that, under a Trump administration, is just for show.
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Everyone knows about Trump’s disdain for the international organization and his disregard for diplomacy in general. And Haley knowingly accepted the ambassador position with full understanding that America under Trump would never invest much into the United Nations.
Even in the off-chance that Haley accepted the position believing she might be able to genuinely do some good work at the United Nations, doesn’t everybody know that when it comes to Trump, it’s his way or the highway?
And perhaps that is what is most disturbing about Haley’s interview and her choosing to reappear in the political arena right now: It makes me think that the problem with American politics isn’t Trump, but people like Nikki Haley who enable him and his culture of corruption.