- The Washington Times - Friday, November 15, 2019

Nikki Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, on Friday said that apparent attempts by former Trump administration officials Rex W. Tillerson and John F. Kelly to undermine the president ran counter both to the U.S. Constitution and to the people who put President Trump into office.

Ms. Haley recounted part of a story she tells in her new book about how Mr. Tillerson, the former secretary of state, and Mr. Kelly, the former White House chief of staff, unsuccessfully tried to recruit Ms. Haley in an effort to undermine the president.

“We had a disagreement. They pulled me to the side, and they said look, we’re trying to save the country and we need you to join us with that,” Ms. Haley said.

She was addressing students in Lynchburg, Virginia, at Liberty University’s Friday Convocation.

“It’s not that they thought the president was unfit or rogue — they disagreed with him on policy,” she said. “And the problem with that is, when the American people elect a president, they elect him because of what he says he’s going to do.”

“And for others to come in that are unelected, to go and think they know better than him … it’s not only against the Constitution, it’s against the people who elected him,” she said.

Ms. Haley said they disagreed with the president on issues such as pulling out of both the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as the push to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“It goes to show that when people do try and push you in a certain direction, trust your gut, go to that core, and make sure you do what is right,” she said. “My loyalty was to the president and to the American people and at the end of the day, that’s where we need to be regardless of what other egos are in the room trying to get you to go the other way.”

Mr. Tillerson has disputed Ms. Haley’s account of the events.

Ms. Haley, also a former governor of South Carolina, is out with a new book called “With All Due Respect: Defending America With Grit and Grace.”

She has been mentioned as a possible 2024 Republican presidential candidate, and there’s even been speculation that Mr. Trump could dump Vice President Mike Pence from the 2020 ticket and tap Ms. Haley to be his running mate next year.

Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University who appeared onstage with Ms. Haley, drew a smattering of cheers when he told her that she’s been discussed as “one of the perfect candidates for national office” for some time.

“You’re going to be seen as somebody who’s not part of the old guard Republicans who have betrayed conservatives like us so many times over the last four decades, and so my hat’s off to you for that,” Mr. Falwell said.

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