Politics & Government

Haley on the investigation into President Trump: ‘I’ve tuned it out’

Nikki Haley: There will always be a part of me in the Carolinas

Former South Carolina Gov. and current United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley was named the 2018 Citizen of the Carolinas on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 in Charlotte, NC. Haley expressed her love for the two Carolinas during her acceptance speech.
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Former South Carolina Gov. and current United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley was named the 2018 Citizen of the Carolinas on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 in Charlotte, NC. Haley expressed her love for the two Carolinas during her acceptance speech.

Nikki Haley had a simple strategy to do her job as United Nations ambassador in the midst of a federal investigation into President Donald Trump — “I’ve tuned it out,” she said.

Haley told NBC’s “Today Show” on Wednesday that she hasn’t followed the ins and outs of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump presidential campaign’s ties to Russia. But, she added, she hopes the investigation will be wrapped up soon.

“I have not had any time to pay attention to the Mueller investigation,” Haley told NBC’S Craig Melvin, the former WIS staffer. “I’ve tuned it out. The investigation, if it’s going forward, needs to go forward. But for the good of the country, they need to hurry up and let us know what they know.”

Haley surprised many when she announced she was leaving the United Nations at the end of the year. She resigned from the S.C. Governor’s Mansion almost two years ago to take an appointment in Trump’s cabinet.

Haley told “Today” that she and Trump developed a good working partnership, partly by letting the president “be unpredictable and not showing our cards.” Melvin described it as a “good cop, bad cop” routine.

“He would ratchet up the rhetoric, and I would tell the other ambassadors, ‘He’s pretty upset. I don’t know what he’s going to do,’ ” Haley said.

Haley often has been more critical of Russia than the Trump White House. Asked if Russia was a rival to the United States, Haley said it “depends on the day.”

She noted Russia has made it difficult for the administration to work with it, citing its aggressive actions in Ukraine and the poisoning of a Russian dissident living in the United Kingdom.

“I’m critical (of Russia) when it’s warranted,” she said.

Looking back on her time at the U.N., Haley said she was proud of pressuring North Korea into coming to the negotiating table over the country’s nuclear weapons program. She also said the United States needs to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi despite Saudi assistance to the United States in its effort to rein in Iran in the Middle East.

“We have relationships with lots of countries, and our goal is to make those relationships better,” Haley said. But, she added, it’s important that “when this happens, we not step away from our principles.”

Since announcing her departure from the U.N., Haley has sold her Lexington County home in favor of staying in New York City until her son finishes high school. She also has talked about writing a book.

Few think this is the end of Haley’s time in national politics. She is considered a future presidential candidate in 2024 or even a vice presidential candidate in 2020. But Haley told Melvin that she and her husband aren’t thinking about that right now.

“Michael and I have never talked about running for president,” Haley said, adding, “Our lives have been such a surprise.”

She added, “The only thing I’m looking forward to now is sleeping in.”

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Bristow Marchant covers politics and government for The State, with more than 10 years’ experience covering South Carolina. He won the S.C. Press Association’s 2015 award for Best Series on a toxic Chester County landfill fire, and was part of The State’s award-winning 2016 election coverage.


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