U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s high-profile spat with President Donald Trump’s newest adviser comes amid multiple instances of apparent contempt for the Trump agenda among her U.N. delegation.
In September, at his first address to the U.N. in New York City, President Trump used the word “sovereignty” 21 times as he laid out his unequivocally nationalist “America First” stance towards liberal internationalist institutions like the U.N.’s various bodies.
Yet, when one of those bodies, the annual session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), met last month to discuss “empowering rural women and girls,” the United States’ representatives were less than intuitively supportive of this agenda.
Three sources, including two eyewitnesses, tell Breitbart News that a leading U.S. Mission career staffer, International Affairs Adviser Laurie Phipps, told a closed-door, off-the-record CSW session that the United States could “reluctantly” “live with” the inclusion of language supporting national sovereignty.
One source with extensive knowledge of CSW proceedings told Breitbart News that this type of language, specifying respect for national sovereignty, is routinely proposed by more socially conservative countries. These boilerplate “sovereignty clauses” do not typically wind up in CSW documents, but are an important bargaining chip pro-sovereignty countries use to prevent the inclusion of “progressive” CSW delegations’ and non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) most radical proposals.
All three sources told Breitbart News they were shocked by Phipps’s description of the American delegation’s position toward sovereignty. The two that were in the room at the time emphasized that Phipps made it clear by her tone and demeanor that she was unhappy with the inclusion of the sovereignty reference.
Minutes later, according to two sources, Phipps spoke again, clarifying that the U.S. actually supported national sovereignty.
Phipps, who has served in the U.S. Mission since 2005, was described by one source familiar with the delegation as its most senior “women’s expert.” Phipps did not respond to Breitbart News’s request for comment.
Meanwhile, at least two “U.N. officials” who may or may not be part of the U.S. Mission to the U.N. broke the confidentiality of the same CSW sessions to undermine the pro-life, pro-family negotiating stance of several Trump political appointees in a BuzzFeed News story Wednesday.
“Everyone was like, ‘are you kidding me?’” one of these officials told BuzzFeed News about the moment Trump-nominated USAID official Bethany Kozma described the U.S. as a “pro-life nation.”
“She spoke of ‘trying to get women to make better choices in the future,’ which is that terrifying and outmoded idea that women make bad sexual choices and that what happens to them is their fault,” another CSW delegate, possibly from the U.S. mission, told Buzzfeed about Trump Health and Human Services official Valerie Huber’s support for sex education that promotes delaying or foregoing sexual activity.
According to BuzzFeed, this delegate added that “during this moment of the #MeToo movement, it seemed ‘particularly regressive.’”
The U.S. Mission to the U.N.’s politically appointed leadership, with Ambassador Haley at its head, assigns career staff and sets their agendas. In the case of CSW, these decisions were the purview of Haley’s top subordinate, Ambassador Kelley Currie. Currie, a former staffer for moderate Rep. John Porter (R-IL), was nominated from her position with an Asia-focused NGO.
Another deputy ambassador is Haley’s close ally from her days as Governor of South Carolina, NeverTrump leader Jon Lerner. Lerner made headlines this week when President Trump himself reportedly intervened to stop his appointment as a foreign policy adviser to Vice President Mike Pence.
Undampened by these controversies, however, Haley is enjoying one of Washington’s best weeks of press in recent memory after her curt exchange with National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow. Perhaps, Kudlow suggested, Haley suffered “momentary confusion” when she announced new sanctions against Russia in response to alleged chemical attacks by their ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
No sanctions were actually authorized by the President, and the White House spent Sunday correcting Haley’s premature announcement. Instead of apologizing or merely accepting Kudlow’s face-saving explanation for the mishap, Haley shot back at Kudlow and, by extension, the White House on Fox News, telling Dana Perino, “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”
The laconic quip instantly made her the woman of the moment in Washington. The left-leaning press lionized Haley Wednesday, lavishing praise on her retort. CNN’s Brooke Baldwin spoke over a chyron exclaiming, “Nikki Haley Absolutely Owns New White House Advisor in Just 8 Words.”
Who is writing these chyrons? An Upworthy editor circa 2013? pic.twitter.com/upLrBs6Kb3
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) April 18, 2018
Politico’s Elena Johnson and Burgess Everett, meanwhile, characterized Haley’s quip as a “red line.” “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,” they wrote Wednesday.
The New York Times even claimed, in the comment’s aftermath that, “Republicans close to the White House whisper about the prospect of an alliance between Ms. Haley and Vice President Mike Pence, possibly to run as a ticket in 2020.”
This fawning press was quickly eaten up, not only by the Left, but the tiny ranks of NeverTrump thought leaders as well:
— David French (@DavidAFrench) April 18, 2018
Haley has never been a likely Trump ally and her role in the administration came as a surprise to many within the Trump campaign and transition team. During the 2016 presidential cycle, she endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in an unsuccessful effort to prevent South Carolina, the state she then governed, from falling to Trump. Then she backed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to prevent Trump winning the GOP nomination, before finally – and very reluctantly – relenting and claiming she would vote for Trump.
As bestselling conservative author Ann Coulter reminded her Twitter followers Wednesday, however, Haley went much further than that:
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 18, 2018
In 2015, Haley explicitly blamed Trump’s “rhetoric” for mass murderer Dylan Roof’s massacre in North Charleston. “That is not a part of our party, that is not who we want as president. We will not allow that in our country,” she said about Trump at the time.
At the time of her appointment, many speculated the pick was merely a means of elevating key Trump ally Henry McMaster to the governorship of South Carolina. A source familiar with the transition confirmed to Breitbart News this week that removing Haley from South Carolina politics was a motive in the decision to select her.