White House vs. Nikki Haley: What it Means

April 18, 2018
Updated 9d ago

The back and forth between Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, and President Donald Trump’s new economic adviser Larry Kudlow over sanctions on Russia Tuesday underscores the urgent need for the White House to overcome vast policy differences within the administration, says Jon Miller, White House correspondent for the conservative-leaning CRTV.

“They need to figure out how to get a singular message out there,” he told Cheddar Wednesday.

Haley said on Sunday the administration was set to impose sanctions on Russia for its role in Syria’s seven-year-long civil war. Days later, Kudlow denied that sanctions were on the table, saying on Fox News that Haley was just “momentarily confused.” The former South Carolina Governor hit back, reportedly saying in a statement, “With all due respect, I don't get confused.” The tensions eased after Kudlow apologized to Haley hours later.

“I’m going to say that she’s the one who knows what she’s talking about in this instance,” said Miller. “She’s the one who’s calling the shots, and people seem to be coming behind her.”

Haley’s positions on a range of foreign policy issues have often clashed with the White House. She outwardly and persistently criticized the Kremlin on topics from the Syrian conflict, to Ukraine, to the 2016 presidential election, a sharp juxtaposition to Trump’s more demure approach to Russia.

“She’s a little more hawkish on issues in terms of foreign policy,” explained Miller. “She’s a little more outspoken. I think Trump has people around him who are trying to rein him in a bit.”

Kudlow’s attempt to undermine Haley may be a microcosm of an administration in perpetual chaos, with staffers often seeming to operate on completely different wavelengths. And that might be something that the president encourages, Miller said.

“The president has said he likes conflicting ideas. He says, ‘I like the conflict in my White House, I like different ideas happening.’”

For full interview, click here.