Politics & Government

Haley slams Russia’s ‘quick’ defense of Syria after chemical attack

Nikki Haley sounds off on Syria at the UN

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley sounds off on Russia, Syria at the Security Council after gas attack
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UN Ambassador Nikki Haley sounds off on Russia, Syria at the Security Council after gas attack

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley again lashed out at Russia for its defense of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad after last week’s chemical attack that killed dozens of people.

The former South Carolina governor’s comments came Sunday during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” in which Haley questioned Russia’s reaction immediately after Tuesday’s attack in Syria that killed more than 80 people and left hundreds more injured.

“When this chemical weapons murder happened to so many people, Russia’s reaction was not, ‘Oh, how horrible’ or ‘How could they do this to innocent children?’” said Haley, a frequent critic of Russia. “Their initial reaction was: Assad didn’t do it. The Syrian government didn’t do it.

“Why were they that defensive, that quick?” she continued. “The idea of casualties came after. The first priority for them was to cover for Assad.”

President Donald Trump on Thursday launched a strike against the airbase that housed the planes used in the attack, a decision Haley lauded Sunday, saying Americans saw Trump “in his finest hour” since he became president.

“He was very thoughtful about it,” she said. “... They were so focused on making sure there were limited civilian casualties, if any at all. They were focused on making sure they hit the airbase where the Syrian government actually used the planes to carry the chemical weapons. And they were focused on making sure that they understood the United States is not going to allow chemical weapons used – ever.”

When asked about Trump’s executive order that would temporarily ban travel to the U.S. by residents of six Muslim-majority countries – including Syria – and has been halted by federal courts, Haley defended the order, saying it focuses on the safety of Americans.

“What this president has done has said, prove to me that you are vetting these people properly, and if you are vetting them properly, then we will resume where we are,” she said. “But until then, you have to prove to me that these people are being vetted in a way that we’re not putting American citizens at risk.”