Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in her book, “With All Due Respect,” that then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly asked her in a meeting to help them oppose some of President Donald Trump’s policies and in so doing, “save the country.”
And now Tillerson has issued a denial.
But it’s a sort of, kind of dubious denial.
This is what Haley wrote, according to The Washington Post, excerpting an advance copy of her book: “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. The president didn’t know what he was doing.”
She went on with this: “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.”
Haley reportedly keyed in the president in on these conversations with Kelly and Tillerson, and gave him a heads-up of the disloyalty. But Tillerson denies the chat ever took place.
“At no time did I, nor to my direct knowledge did anyone else serving along with me, take any actions to undermine the president,” Tillerson said in widely reported remarks. “Once the president made a decision, we at the State Department undertook our best efforts to implement that decision. Ambassador Haley was rarely a participant in my many meetings.”
But here’s the thing: Haley didn’t directly accuse Tillerson and Kelly of taking action to undermine Trump. She only accused that they confided in her of resisting the president’s policies.
Tillerson never actually denied having this conversation with Haley. He only said that Haley rarely participated in his meetings. But then again, it would only take one meeting, wouldn’t it?
It would only take one small, slight, short, brief meeting for Tillerson to tell Haley what she said he told her.
Tillerson’s denial of Haley’s claims is not exactly rock tight.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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