Usually it is a sign of loyalty and responsibility when a subordinate takes the fall for his or her superior in the best interests of the organization. Not in this instance, however. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was the victim of another inexcusable example of White House incompetence, and was designated to take the fall. She refused.
White House aides tried to blame Haley for speaking on national television about the administration’s plans to roll out new sanctions against Russia when the President had decided to defer them but never informed her of his course correction.White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, either on his own or according to direction, said in a statement that Haley had suffered “momentary confusion” and gotten “out ahead of the curve.” Haley didn’t stand for it, and demanded and received an apology. “With all due respect, I don’t get confused,” she said.
“But the sanctions episode is a stark reminder that this president has little compunction about letting his top staffers and appointees dangle. As the White House scrambled to explain the president’s change of heart on issuing Russia sanctions, Haley became a convenient target for West Wing aides working to smooth a ragged decision making process without blaming the president himself.”
Good. The White House needs such a reminder, and needs to be embarrassed, publicly. This kind of ridiculous sloppiness has plagued the Trump Presidency from the start, and while I doubt that he is capable of learning and reform, covering for his incompetence will just guarantee more and worse.
Before Kudlow tried to make Haley Trump’s scapegoat, the White House spun that while the President signed off on sanctions legislation last week, the announcement was delayed because the Treasury Department did not have the legislation ready. Oh, it was the Treasury Department’s fault then. Welllll…no. The White House sent talking points to spokespersons the day before Haley’s TV appearance. It just forgot to alert the President’s official voice in the international body known as the United Nations. Hey, anyone can make a mistake!
“At the center of the story, this incident will raise questions as to whether she’s speaking for the administration when she speaks at the United Nations,” said Ely Ratner, who served as deputy national security adviser for Vice President Joe Biden. “That’s something that has haunted Cabinet-level officials since the beginning of the administration.”
That’s right: incompetence has consequences. That’s why it is important to send the message that simply blaming others isn’t a solution.
Haley had the courage and integrity to send that message.
It’s about time someone did.