New York, Nov 11 (IANS) Nikki Haley, the first Indian-American to serve on the US cabinet, has burled the bombshell allegation that two top officials in President Donald Trump’s administration tried to undermine him and asked her to join them in carrying the plan.
Haley writes in her book, “With All Due Respect”, that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly told her that they “resisted the President” and needed her to join them.
“It absolutely happened,” she confirmed in an interview broadcast on Sunday morning by CBS.
“To undermine a President is really a very dangerous thing. And it goes against the Constitution, and it goes against what the American people want. And it was offensive.”
Trump appointed Haley as the Permanent Ambassador to the UN with a cabinet rank in 2017 and she quit the job at the end of 2018 on amicable terms with the President, even though she had publicly differed with him on several issues.
She continues to be a Trump loyalist and is considered a potential future presidential candidate.
Her book is due to be published on Tuesday, but parts of it have been quoted by different media.
The daughter of Sikh immigrants, she has served as the Governor of the state of South Carolina.
She wrote that the two officials spent over an hour trying to convince her to join them.
“Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country.”
She said in the book that “Tillerson went on to tell me the reason he resisted the president’s decisions was because, if he didn’t, people would die. This was how high the stakes were, he and Kelly told me”.
“We need you to work with us and help us do it,” they appealed to her, she wrote.
She said in her Sunday interview: “Instead of saying that to me, they should have been saying that to the president, not asking me to join them on their sidebar plan. It should have been, ‘Go tell the president what your differences are, and quit if you don’t like what he’s doing’.”
Tillerson was fired by Trump through a tweet in March 2018 and replaced by Mike Pompeo. Kelly resigned at the end of the year following his differences with the President.
Haley’s inside view of the tumult among senior officials seems to be corroborated by the anonymous author of another recent book, “A Warning”, although not specifically about Kelly and Tillerson’s encounter with her.
The author’s identity is kept secret by the publisher who claims it was a senior official working for Trump who had written an op-ed for The New York Times asserting: “I am part of the resistance inside the Trump administration.”
The anonymous author wrote in the book to be officially released later this month, that memebers of the Cabinet planned a constitutional coup against Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment which allows a majority of the cabinet to declare a president “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” and remove him from office.
The author, called a “coward” by Trump for making allegations from under the veil of secrecy, also claimed that senior officials considered a mass resignation to make their case against him.
During her interview, Haley made clear her loyalty to Trump despite differences with him.
She denounced the Democrats’ attempt to impeach him, saying: “I think the biggest thing that bothers me is the American people should decide this. Why do we have a bunch of people in Congress making that decision?”
She said that there were no grounds to impeach Trump.
She said that while he did say, “I would like you to do us a favour” according to the transcripts of the his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, “the Ukrainians never did the investigation. And the President released the funds. I mean, when you look at those, there’s just nothing impeachable there”.
The Democrats have said that asking a foreign leader to investigate the dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the party’s nomination to run against Trump, and his son amount to inviting foreign involvement in US politics and that he was misusing American tax payer money to further his personal political aims.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)