In case it isn’t perfectly clear by now, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley doesn’t play. She sure didn’t appreciate it when President Trump’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow told a reporter that Haley was confused about further sanctions coming on Russia.
During Nikki Haley’s appearance on Face the Nation Sunday morning, she told host Margaret Brennan that by Monday more sanctions on Russia would be announced. No new sanctions were announced on Monday. Then the story changed from the White House when questions were asked. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that a decision had not been made.
WH walks back @nikkihaley’s statement on @FaceTheNation that @USTreasury would roll out Russia sanctions today. @PressSec: “We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future.” https://t.co/fFqOHxUWVX
— margaret brennan (@margbrennan) April 16, 2018
For whatever reason, by the next day, President Trump had changed his mind about the announcement. Larry Kudlow was asked Tuesday about Haley’s statement and he said that she must have been confused about Russian sanctions. He was trying to downplay the mixed messages between the White House and the U.N. ambassador but he just added fuel to the fire.
“She got ahead of the curve,” Mr. Kudlow said. “There might have been some momentary confusion about that. Additional sanctions are under consideration but not implemented, and that’s all.”
Haley’s response was measured, respectful, and to the point. She gave a statement to Fox News.“With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” Any questions? If this was some kind of test Kudlow conducted to determine just how far he could throw Haley under the bus, he didn’t do too well. Trump changed his mind and she wasn’t going to be held responsible for it. Frankly, Kudlow’s remark sounded condescending.
Kudlow fancies himself a peacemaker and strives to downplay friction caused by Trump and his team. So Tuesday Kudlow apologized to Haley. (Time)
A White House official said Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, called Haley to apologize Tuesday afternoon in an effort to mend fences.
If you believe anonymous sources, several have told reporters that the mix up happened because a statement on sanctions wasn’t ready by the time Trump announced the missile strike Friday night. They say Haley may just not have been aware that plans had changed.
The officials said that, under the plan conceived last week, the sanctions would have been announced Friday night, at the same time U.S., French, and British forces launched a missile strike on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons facilities. But the sanctions were not ready in time for Trump’s Friday night statement, so they were delayed.
The officials said a decision was then made to announce the sanctions as an answer to Russia’s response to the strikes. But that plan was re-evaluated and then put on hold over the weekend as it became clear that Russia’s response was less robust than anticipated. The officials were not authorized to discuss private administration deliberations publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Whatever happened, it came out looking pretty sloppy from the White House. I don’t know why Trump’s White House thought Haley would take the blame for something that she wasn’t a part of doing. She’s had numerous stories written about her calm determination and firm resolve at the United Nations. The White House should have known better than to blame her for changing course after she spoke publicly. She wasn’t the one who caved to Russia’s less than a complacent reaction to her statement. She didn’t care if they squawked.
Sometime after Haley’s comments on CBS, the Trump administration notified the Russian Embassy in Washington that the sanctions were not in fact coming, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said Monday.
Good for her for speaking up.