WASHINGTON -- U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said “no one’s” discussing President Donald Trump’s tweets -- tweets that often have implications for international relations -- at the U.N., at least not with her.
(CBS NEWS) -- Haley said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that nobody at the U.N. has brought up Mr. Trump’s tweets, such as two on Thursday in which he said that his upcoming meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping “will be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits” and job losses.
But the former South Carolina governor also said that foreign leaders are probably picking up the phone if they take issue with the president’s tweets.
“I think the foreign leaders are picking up the phone and calling him if they have an issue,” Haley said. “And that’s what they’re doing with me. If they have an issue, they’re calling me. They’re not sitting there texting me and saying, ‘What was this tweet about?’”
Haley said someone would have to ask China’s president and other foreign dignitaries directly if they’re aware of the president’s tweets, claiming she doesn’t pay much attention to them.
“You’d have to ask everybody else,” Haley said. “I don’t hear about them. I don’t talk about them. I don’t have them interfere in everything that I’m doing. And so, to me, it’s chatter I don’t focus on. But, you know, you can talk to President Xi and ask him if he’s reading those tweets. I don’t know.”
Haley also responded briefly to the ongoing congressional probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, iterating some criticisms of Russia without focusing on specifics. Her comments came after a week filled with Russia-related developments, including revelations that former national security adviser Michael Flynn is seeking protection before testifying amid congressional probes.
“Well, you know, I’ve always said we don’t trust Russia,” said Haley, asked if Russian President Vladimir Putin lied earlier this week when he claimed Russia had zero involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. “And I think we’re all aware that Russia was involved in the elections. And so, I’m not going to talk about who’s lying and who’s not. I know that that’s a very real thing.”
Instead, Haley claimed her counterparts at the U.N. are focused on U.N. business, and are “relieved” that the U.S. is “starting to lead again.”
Haley had few answers for how the U.S. is helping respond to the famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen -- a famine the U.N. labeled the worst in 70 years -- after Mr. Trump cut funding in his budget for humanitarian aid abroad. Haley emphasized the administration’s focus is on strengthening the military.
“Well, I think what the president was trying to do was show in his budget that he wants to build up the military equipment again, strengthen the military so that we can face the threats that are happening around the world,” Haley said. “And I think, at the same time, he wants to see value in the United Nations. And he wants to make sure that no other countries are just taking us for granted.”