Howard Kurtz pointed out the long-term political implications of former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley defending President Trump over the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
“If she said she thought the president should be impeached over this, she’d have no future in the Republican Party and she’s a lot savvier politician than that,” Kurtz told “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino” on Monday.
“I’m not particularly buying the chatter that she’s going to end up on the ticket in 2020, but certainly she wants to preserve her political options, shall we say,” Kurtz said.
Haley told “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell, “You’re gonna impeach a president for asking for a favor that didn’t happen and giving money and it wasn’t withheld? I don’t know what you would impeach him on.”
She later added, “The Ukrainians never did the investigation, and the president released the funds. I mean, when you look at those, there’s just nothing impeachable there.” Many Democrats have claimed Trump ordered aid money to be withheld from Ukraine until the country investigated the political dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter there. Trump and the White House have said the president did nothing wrong, denying there was any “quid pro quo.”
Kurtz said Haley’s response would resonate with those who disagreed with the grounds for impeachment against Trump.
Speaking with O’Donnell, Haley also blasted former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, recalling a private conversation in which they defended resisting Trump, telling her they did so out of necessity.
Haley said that she did not appreciate having the former officials confide in her, as she described in her new book, “With All Due Respect.”
“General Kelly and Tillerson may well have viewed themselves as helping to protect the country against Donald Trump’s worst instincts,” Kurtz said.
“The problem with that line of thought is that, ultimately, they were staff and he’s the guy who got elected. So, Nikki Haley, who I believe has the political future, is trying to portray herself as a Trump loyalist by saying she wasn’t going to go along with this so-called cabal.”