Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson fired back at claims made in a new book by former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Tillerson denied the claims made in Haley’s new memoir, “With All Due Respect,” that he and former White House chief of staff John Kelly worked to undermine President Trump.
Haley, who stepped down from her position at the end of last year, revealed in her book that Tillerson and Kelly were seeking ways to get around the president in order to “save the country.”
“Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country,” Haley wrote, according to the Post reported which cited a copy of her new book.
“It was their decisions, not the president’s, that were in the best interests of America, they said. The president didn’t know what he was doing,” she added.
Nikki Haley dishes on ‘offensive’ scheme by Kelly and Tillerson to undermine Trump to ‘save the country’ https://t.co/DMXtyAIBDR
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) November 10, 2019
Tillerson, who was fired in March 2018 after serving as Secretary of State during Trump’s first year in the White House, fired back at Haley’s representation of events and his actions.
“During my service to our country as the Secretary of State, at no time did I, nor to my direct knowledge did anyone else serving along with me, take any actions to undermine the President,” Tillerson told The Washington Post in a statement.
“My conversations with the President in the privacy of the Oval Office were always candid, frank, and my recommendations straightforward. Once the President made a decision, we at the State Department undertook our best efforts to implement that decision,” he added.
“Ambassador Haley was rarely a participant in my many meetings and is not in a position to know what I may or may not have said to the President. I continue to be proud of my service as our country’s 69th Secretary of State,” Tillerson said.
Kelly, who left the White House last December, also dismissed Haley’s assertion that he and Tillerson had tried to recruit her into joining them as they sought to subvert Trump, notably after an Oval Office meeting in which they disagreed over U.N. funding for Palestinians.
In a separate statement to the Post, Kelly said that if providing the president “with the best and most open, legal and ethical staffing advice from across the [government] so he could make an informed decision is ‘working against Trump,’ then guilty as charged.”
Haley’s recollection of the disagreement over Palestinian funding was “absolutely accurate” and “fits a pattern” according to a senior White House official in office at that time.
The former South Carolina governor described Tillerson in her memoir as “arrogant and condescending,” and wrote that the former Exxon CEO told her that people would die if they did nothing about Trump.
“It was no secret that Rex and I had our differences,” Haley wrote. “He gave off the unmistakable impression that he knew more than everyone else in the room — including the president,” she wrote. “Dealing with Rex could be exhausting.”
“I had been a chief executive too. I thought like one and I acted like one,”she added, describing what she saw as the apparent resentment Tillerson held against her.
“But from the beginning, Rex had different ideas about how the lines of authority and decision-making would be drawn,” Haley wrote. “He was dismissive of my opinions, and he didn’t make any secret about the fact that he believed his views carried more weight.”