The disarray within the Trump administration was put on full display when U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley released a terse rebuke after the White House called her 'confused' about Russian sanctions.
The Trump administration certainly has no qualms about throwing any of its own under the bus when it’s convenient. And that’s again evident in the growing dispute between the White House and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley over Russian sanctions.
Haley’s terse statement to Fox News about her supposed “confusion” over the sanctions put the disarray on very public display.
On “Face the Nation” Sunday morning, Haley declared that a new round of sanctions “will be coming down” imminently. The sanctions would target Russian companies that have aided Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s government in making and deploying chemical weapons.
Haley’s announcement came days after the Trump administration launched strikes against Syria in response to Assad’s latest attack on his own people.
Trump himself put on a show of admonishing Russian President Vladimir Putin for supporting Assad. Yet rather than back up his own U.N. ambassador, Trump chose to embarrass her by shifting course in less than a day.
Monday morning, Trump reversed Haley’s announcement. He told his national security advisers he wasn’t comfortable implementing them yet.
And the administration blamed the discrepancy between Haley’s announcement and the White House’s backpedaling on her “confusion.”
Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters that there wasn’t actually any backpedaling. It was simply that Haley had gotten “ahead of the curve” in her statement.
“There might have been some momentary confusion about that,” he added blithely.
Haley begged to differ. And when asked for comment by Fox News host Dana Perino, she offered a brief and pointed dissent.
“With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”
Kudlow reportedly apologized to Haley soon after her statement. He put the blame elsewhere for her not knowing about the change of plans. And he said he was “totally wrong” in his earlier statement.
But the whole debacle still highlights the pitfalls of working for the Trump White House. It means knowing that one may be committing “professional suicide.” And it also means working for a boss who displays a stunning lack of loyalty to anyone around him.
Trump’s erratic governing — or lack thereof — is a familiar pattern. And his willingness to throw someone like Haley under the bus is also nothing new. Nor is the endless disarray pouring out of this White House.
But that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing on the global stage when representatives of United States government don’t seem to know what the other is doing.