Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly spent an hour trying to convince then-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to join them in opposing key policies of President Donald Trump, Haley has revealed in her new book, With All Due Respect, according to the Washington Post.
The book is slated to come out Tuesday, but the Post had obtained an advance copy.
“Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country. It was their decisions, not the president’s, that were in the best interests of America, they said,” Haley recalled. “The president didn’t know what he was doing [they claimed] … Tillerson went on to tell me the reason he resisted the president’s decisions was because, if he didn’t, people would die.”
Haley wrote that she was “shocked” at the request. “Instead of saying that to me, they should’ve been saying that to the president, not asking me to join them on their sidebar plan. It should’ve been, ‘Go tell the president what your differences are, and quit if you don’t like what he’s doing.”
Instead, Haley wrote, the two were choosing to “undermine” the president, which she called “a very dangerous thing. And it goes against the Constitution, and it goes against what the American people want. And it was offensive.”
“I was so shocked I didn’t say anything going home because I just couldn’t get my arms around the fact that here you have two key people in an administration undermining the president.”
Haley recalls several foreign-policy clashes inside the Trump White House. In one Oval Office clash, her advocacy of withholding funding for a UN agency was met with stiff opposition by both Kelly and Tillerson.
Trump eventually fired Tillerson in March 2018, and then Kelly in December 2018.
Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, also said that she saw “nothing in that transcript [of Trump’s phone call to the president of Ukraine] that warrants” impeachment, which she described as “the death penalty for the President.”
“There was no heavy demand insisting that something had to happen,” Haley said of the call. “So it’s hard for me to understand where the whole impeachment situation is coming from.”
Actually, having witnessed first-hand the efforts to undermine Trump by Kelly and Tillerson, it should be quite easy for Haley to understand where “the whole impeachment situation is coming from.”
The Deep State does not like Trump. More importantly, they do not like his policies, such as pulling America back from its role as policeman of the world and the interventionist foreign policy that has characterized most U.S. presidents since World War II. When Tillerson said that Trump’s decisions were going to cause people to “die,” Haley should have retorted that it was the interventionist foreign policy favored by Tillerson that has caused people to “die,” in places such as Iraq, Libya, and Somalia.
Perhaps a closer look at the background of Rex Tillerson would enable Haley to “understand” the push to impeach Trump, coming not only from partisan Democrats, but also from establishment Republicans who are also members of the Deep State. After all, Tillerson had been a frequent donor to Republican candidates such as George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, but he did not give a dime to the Trump 2016 campaign. Tillerson did contribute to Trump’s foe in the Republican primaries, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Not only should Haley have been alerted to Tillerson, one would think that Trump would have also been wary of Tillerson.
Tillerson, a former executive with ExxonMobil, has a track record that should have given Trump pause. He was a trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He told the Deep State Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in March 2007, “Like the Council’s founders, I believe we must choose the course of greater international engagement.”
While Trump has voiced concerns about globalism, Tillerson has favored many of the goals of the CFR, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership and remaining in the Paris Climate Accord. In fact, while an executive with ExxonMobil, Tillerson publicly advocated a carbon tax.
Domestically, he has been anything but a conservative, publicly favoring the retention of the Common Core national school curriculum. As a member of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts, Tillerson is said to have played a significant role in the 2013 decision to rescind the ban on openly gay youth in the organization.
All of this highlights the problems faced by any U.S. president seeking to put America first. The foreign policy establishment as epitomized by the CFR has had a stranglehold on U.S. foreign policy since before World War II. It is difficult to find experienced hands in the field of foreign policy, because few non-interventionists have worked in that field in the last several decades. The few times that presidents have made good decisions — such as when Ronald Reagan refused to send the Law of the Sea Treaty to the Senate for ratification — have been over the objections of their foreign policy personnel. (In that case, Secretary of State Alexander Haig).
What we have now is a president who is challenging the fundamentals of a U.S. foreign policy establishment that has been constructed over three generations. Men such as Tillerson and Kelly think they know better than Donald Trump. But, as Haley suggested in her book, if they did not like his policies, they should have told him, not tried to undermine him. And, if they could not carry out those policies, they should have resigned.
Photo of Tillerson (left) and Kelly (right) with President Trump: AP Images