After United Nations (UN) Ambassador Nikki Haley got into a spat with chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow, the political and media establishment is now rallying around the former South Carolina governor to attack President Trump.
This week, Haley falsely claimed on a Sunday talk show that the Trump administration would be releasing a package of sanctions against Russia, saying they “will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to [Syrian President] Assad and chemical weapons use.”
Days later, after the White House had already walked back Haley’s claim, Kudlow told CNN that Haley “got ahead of the curve,” saying “there might have been some momentary confusion about that.”
That’s when Haley responded to Kudlow publicly, saying “With all due respect, I don’t get confused,” causing a media firestorm around the White House.
Haley’s remarks to Kudlow armed the mainstream media and political establishment with a week’s worth of attacks on Trump, where media pundits and talk show hosts nearly unanimously denounced Trump and talked up Haley as a potential opponent to the president in 2020.
On MSNBC, pundit Noah Rothman said: “She is absolutely right to go out and defend her honor there,” while MSNBC host Kasie Hunt defended Haley against Trump as well, saying:
I mean good for Nikki Haley, right? There was an element of condescendion to the way that Larry Kudlow was speaking about her, saying ‘Oh well she’s just the kind of person that might get confused a bit.’ And she was bold enough to push back and I suspect that she won’t use that kind of lanuage about her again. It only takes one time of pushing back and people stop talking about you like that.
Andy Card, the former chief of staff to President George W. Bush said, “Nikki Haley did not go rogue, she doesn’t go rogue,” and positioned her as a “very steady person.”
On The View, dominated by a roundtable of anti-Trump pundits, Haley received similar endorsements.
Anti-Trump consultant Ana Navarro praised Haley as “a careful woman” and “a deliberate woman,” going on to say that “she’s not out there just shooting from the hip.”
Liberal comedian Joy Behar responded she “loved that about” Haley to the fact that she had publicly pushed back against the White House.
Navarro went on to attack Trump’s White House while heaping more praise on Haley:
I think she is one of the few people, frankly the only one I can readily think of whose standing and stock has gone up instead of down being a part of this mis-administration. I think she has shown great growth and breath. This was a woman who was a governor of a southern state. Nobody really thought she had that much international gravitas. She has risen to the occasion and she’s ain’t going to take any mansplaining from Larry Kudlow who’s been there all of five minutes and telling her she’s confused. [Emphasis added]
A segment by CNN, a leading anti-Trump voice in the establishment media, proclaimed that “‘No Confusion Nikki’ takes the media by storm,” hyping Haley’s response to Kudlow as a potential slogan for a presidential run against Trump in 2020.
Meanwhile, CBS foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk said Haley’s response to the Trump administration makes her “stronger for Oval Office run,” in a column in The Hill.
A New York Times report this week noted that the Republican establishment is whispering in Washington, D.C. about Haley potentially joining an alliance with Vice President Mike Pence for a presidential run in 2020.
The New York Times reports:
A former governor of South Carolina, Ms. Haley has assumed a more prominent role than most of her predecessors, at times eclipsing the secretary of state. And along the way, Mr. Trump has grown suspicious of her ambition, convinced that she had been angling for Mr. Tillerson’s position and increasingly wondering whether she wants his own job.
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. [Emphasis added]
Haley has taken it upon herself to put her name in headlines, most recently giving an extensive interview to the glossy women’s magazine Marie Claire, where she did not shy away from mentioning that she has publicly contradicted Trump’s agenda:
MC: You’ve contradicted the president publicly. How does it feel to stick your neck out like that?
NH: If you stick your neck out, you have to stick it out responsibly. You have to do it in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone, but moves the ball, and so my statements are never about just getting something in the paper or pleasing the administration—it’s how do I get the truth out in a way that’s respectful of everybody? It wouldn’t work if we didn’t have a president who was receptive to that. He’s always been very supportive. He’s always appreciated what I have to say, but then I’m also very straight with him. If I see something that I don’t think is right, I am going to call you. I’m going to do it quietly—I’m not going to go and expose you publicly or try to embarrass anybody. You can make a difference when you do it that way.
As Breitbart News reported, Haley’s hand-picked Deputy U.N. Ambassador Jon Lerner — with whom she has been close allies since 2010 — has a long history of leading the failed “Never Trump” movement and working against Trump’s “America First” immigration agenda.
Nikki Haley’s Deputy Ambassador Led ‘Never Trump’ Movement, Launched Zuckerberg’s Open Borders Grouphttps://t.co/vMhRZQDBDd
— John Binder 👽 (@JxhnBinder) April 17, 2018
Haley, herself, led a faction of the Never Trump movement, using her 2016 State of the Union response to then-President Obama to attack Trump for his popular immigration policies and proclaim her support for mass immigration.
“During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices,” Haley said at the time. “We must resist that temptation. No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.”
Haley has been at odds with the Trump’s populist agenda on a number of key issues. Last year, Breitbart News reported how Haley was pushing for the U.S. to remain in the pro-migration “Global Compact on Migration” treaty. Trump ultimately decided to remove the U.S. from the treaty.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.