Nikki Haley made headlines this week after Larry Kudlow condescendingly said she was “momentarily confused” about Trump’s sanctions against Russia, a comment which he ended up walking back publicly a few hours later, after Haley said, “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.” Kudlow told the New York Times, “I was wrong to say that — totally wrong.” However, standing her ground caught Trump’s attention, because he doesn’t like it when the little ladies are too forceful. New York Times:
Mr. Trump has grown suspicious of her ambition, convinced that she had been angling for Mr. Tillerson’s position and increasingly wondering whether she wants his own job.
Republicans close to the White House whisper about the prospect of an alliance between Ms. Haley and Vice President Mike Pence, possibly to run as a ticket in 2020.
Aides to both scoff at such suggestions, but the slightest hint of such a pairing would be likely to enrage Mr. Trump, who has made it clear that he plans to run for re-election. The talk was exacerbated in recent days when Mr. Pence named Jon Lerner, Ms. Haley’s deputy, as his new national security adviser, while allowing him to keep his job at the United Nations.
That plan collapsed within 48 hours when Mr. Trump grew angry at reports that Mr. Lerner had made anti-Trump ads for the Club for Growth, an economic conservative advocacy group, during Republican primaries in 2016. Mr. Lerner stepped down from the job in Mr. Pence’s office.
Meanwhile, all the sanctions kerfuffle did was to undermine America’s credibility in the world, assuming for the sake of argument that there is any left.
“It damages her credibility going forward and once again makes everyone, friend and foe alike, wonder that when the United States says something, approves something, calls for something, opposes something, is it for real?” said Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Should we wait to see what Trump does the next day?”
Mr. Connolly, on the other hand, described her as an important counterpoint to Mr. Trump. “She’s been a little island of some sanity in this otherwise dysfunctional, irrational, volatile White House when it comes to foreign policy,” he said. “She’s now getting the Tillerson treatment. And so perhaps this island will be swallowed up by rising sea levels.”
The Times reports that at one point recently, Trump saw Haley on television sharply criticizing Russia over its intervention in Ukraine and yelled angrily, “Who wrote that for her? Who wrote that for her?” Apparently Trump can’t parse it together that Haley is a woman of some intelligence and capable of original thought — and not afraid to speak her mind. And that being the case, she’s in for some choppy waters ahead.
And Mike Pence with a female v.p.? As long as they’re properly chaperoned, that could work, I suppose.