The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations can't decide whether to stand with her twice-impeached, defeated ex-boss or not.
Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and Donald Trump's former ambassador to the United Nations, told an interviewer on Jan. 12 that she was "disgusted" and "disappointed" by her former boss for inciting his followers to violence at the U.S. Capitol six days earlier.
Two weeks later, Haley said it was time for everyone to "give the man a break. I mean, move on."
In newly published interview with Politico's Tim Alberta conducted on Jan. 12, Haley said of Trump, "He's not going to run for federal office again. ... I don't think he can. He's fallen so far."
"We need to acknowledge he let us down," the possible 2024 GOP presidential candidate continued. "He went down a path he shouldn't have, and we shouldn't have followed him, and we shouldn't have listened to him. And we can't let that ever happen again."
Haley's words on Jan. 12 went ever further than her remarks on Jan. 7 at the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee, where she said, "President Trump has not always chosen the right words" a day after Trump told the violent terrorists who attempted a coup in the Capitol building that he loved them. "He was wrong with his words in Charlottesville, and I told him so at the time. He was badly wrong with his words yesterday. And it wasn't just his words. His actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history."
But just weeks after condemning the words and actions of her former boss, Haley has already changed her tune again.
In an interview with Fox News on Jan. 25, she said, "What happened on Jan. 6 was not great. Does he deserve to be impeached? Absolutely not." Haley went on to suggest that Trump was the real victim.
"I mean, they beat him up before he got into office, they're beating him up after he leaves office. I mean, at some point, I mean, give the man a break. I mean, move on," she urged.
Since 2016, Haley has repeatedly wavered on whether to align herself with Trump.
During his first campaign for president, she said Trump was "everything a governor doesn't want in a president" and urged Americans to resist the temptation to "follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation. No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country."
In return, Trump mocked her as "weak on illegal immigration" and said she "has no trouble asking me for campaign contributions."
Weeks before the election, Haley said she was "not a fan" of Trump, but would grudgingly vote for him anyway.
Shortly after Trump's won the election in November 2016, she agreed to join his administration as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and became a Trump apologist.
After stepping down from her post at the end of 2018, Haley put some distance between herself and Trump, calling him out for his "unnecessary" mockery of Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings after Cummings' house was broken into.
Months later, as Trump was being impeached for the first time, she defended him and praised him as "truthful," despite the tens of thousands of documented lies he continued to tell the American people.
The news of Haley's comments in January comes as most Senate Republicans have already made clear they will not hold Trump accountable for inciting an insurrection.
But it appears they, like Haley, hope that Trump will be too damaged to run again in 2024, with some saying Democrats are doing them a favor by making the case against him in the impeachment trial.
"Unwittingly, they are doing us a favor," an unnamed GOP senator told the Hill. "They're making Donald Trump disqualified to run for president" even in the unlikely event he's acquitted.
"I think closing the door on that [Trump] chapter is probably positive overall," another Senate Republican said.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.