Foot-dragging, or worse in White House?

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is raising eyebrows with a new book that provides her take on time in President Donald Trump’s administration. The volume, “With All Due Respect,” raises troubling questions about the political establishment.

Haley left her post on good terms with the president — but many high-ranking officials did not. Her memoir includes revelations about former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Both men attempted to enlist her to oppose some of Trump’s policies, Haley writes. Both “confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country,” she explains.

Tillerson told her that if he did not resist Trump, “people would die.”

Haley writes that after she expressed shock at what the two were asking — that she join them in opposing the president — they never brought the matter up again.

Though Haley’s account leaves out specifics of just what Tillerson and Kelly were doing, a reporter asked the latter about the book. Kelly responded that, “if by resistance and stalling, she means putting a staff process in place … to ensure (Trump) knew all the pros and cons of what policy decision he might be contemplating so he could make an informed decision, then guilty as charged.”

Many of our presidents have felt resistance from those high up in their administrations, including cabinet officers. There are recorded incidents in which cabinet secretaries conspired with members of Congress against the presidents they served. Many have resigned over deep disagreements on policy.

But there is a difference between arguing against a policy, perhaps even dragging one’s feet on it, and outright disobedience.

If policy disputes indeed involve real danger to the country, they ought to be debated at the highest levels, perhaps including Congress — and even by revealing controversies to the public, rather than dragging feet and trying to subvert the person elected as the nation’s chief administrator.


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