Nikki Haley said former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s allegation that she conspired to replace Mike Pence as Donald Trump’s vice president was “lies and gossip to sell a book”.
The former United Nations ambassador spoke to Fox News on Thursday night after the Guardian obtained a copy of Pompeo’s memoir, Never Give An Inch, and reported on his comments about Haley.
Haley resigned from the Trump administration in October 2018. Prior to that, Pompeo says, she arranged a personal meeting with Trump in the Oval Office without checking with him.
Pompeo writes that John Kelly, then Trump’s chief of staff, thought that Haley was indeed joined by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in presenting “a possible ‘Haley for Vice President’ option.”
Pompeo also writes unfavorably of Haley’s performance as a UN ambassador and criticizes her resignation.
Speaking to Fox News, Haley said: “I don’t know why he said that, but that’s exactly why I stayed out of DC as much as possible, to get away from the drama.”
She also pointed out that Pompeo says in his book that he doesn’t know if the story is true.
Haley and Pompeo are among the potential candidates for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, in which Trump remains the only confirmed candidate.
But Haley looks ready to run.
She told Fox News: “We’re still working on things and we’ll figure it out. I never missed a race. I said it then I still say it now. I will not lose now.”
Haley turns 51 on Friday. In a comment apparently directed at Joe Biden, 80, but also Donald Trump, 76, she said: “I don’t think you need to be 80 to be a leader in DC. I think we need a young generation to step in and step up and really start fixing things. Can I be that leader? Yes, I think I can be that leader.”
The former governor of South Carolina has drawn support from the Kushner family. She told Fox News that Kushner and his wife were friends of hers, although she hoped they would be supportive of Ivanka’s father.
She said, “May the best woman win.”
Pence, Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley and even former national security adviser John Bolton are among other possible contenders for the Republican nomination. But two men, Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have dominated the polls so far.
On Thursday, Ben Rhodes, former foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama, I wrote: “Pompeo and Haley prepare for a real battle to see who can break 1% in the Republican primary.”
Pompeo’s description of Haley’s alleged encounter with Trump coincided with reports that in 2019 led Trump to deny the possibility of replacing Pence as vice president.
On Thursday, Maggie Haberman, a New York Times reporter and author of the bestselling book Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America, noticed that Kushner and Ivanka Trump “insisted to fellow disbelievers and Pence allies that they had no role in the Haley/VP rumors”.
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