Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley provoked a firestorm this week after she commented on her previous disagreements with former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and ex-Chief of Staff John Kelly over the withdrawal of Palestinian aid, pulling out of the Iran deal and relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with a mocking “did people die?” remark.
Haley, who stepped down from the post in December 2018, spoke out against Tillerson and Kelly during Tuesday’s Fox & Friends. The former officials earlier rebuked some claims the ex-US ambassador made in her recently released book. During the programme, Haley called the former secretary of state and chief of staff “two unelected people” who were “undermining the US president and Constitution” by teaming up against several of Donald Trump’s foreign policy decisions that she backed.
“Finally, I think they were exasperated, not just by this, but also my defence of the president getting out of the Iran deal, my defence of the president getting out of the Paris Climate Agreement, my defence of the president moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem”, Haley said during the programme. “And that's when they said, ‘you don't understand, we're not trying to undermine the president, we're trying to save the country’”.
Haley specifically recalled how her persistence on revoking aid from the Palestinian Authority and her defence of Donald Trump’s controversial decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was met with opposition by Kelly and Tillerson.
“If I don't do the things I do, people will die”, Tillerson reportedly told Haley, as recalled by the former US Ambassador to the United Nations.
“Did people die?” Haley then asked during the show, while referring to Tillerson’s alleged claim. “When we moved the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, did people die? And when we got out of the Iran deal, did people die?”
Haley’s mocking remark was met with outrage on social media, given that dozens of Palestinians died in clashes with Israeli security forces on the day the embassy opened in May 2018. Some also referred to the Trump administration’s recent withdrawal of troops from northern Syria, followed up by Turkey’s military offensive in the region, targeting Daesh* terrorists as well as the US-backed SDF, which Ankara sees as a part of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), banned in the country.
I think @NikkiHaley’s career just died.— Elizabeth Rydan (@elizabeth_rydan) November 12, 2019
He'll yes! A lot of people died.— Eddy Mc (@SpaghettiEddy77) November 12, 2019
i guess when you limit your definition of "people"...— Who Is This (@MarkSoupial) November 12, 2019
Will she accept responsibility for the blood of those who died because of this administration policy?— met edge-ryan (@metedgeryan) November 12, 2019
Yes Nikki Haley people did die, namely our allies the kurds, I really thought that you were one of the adults in room.#WhatsWrongWithNikkieHaley— sixinheels (@sixinheels) November 12, 2019
People died. More will die later in the belief that America's foreign policy can no longer be trusted. The future of our alliances has been sold out. @NikkiHaley you know that.— M Pohl (@Maelvampyre) November 12, 2019
Nikki Haley, who served as the Republican governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017, also earlier defended Donald Trump’s 25 July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that prompted an impeachment inquiry on whether Trump withheld $400 million in aid in exchange for a probe into Former Vice President Joe Biden, arguing that there was no impeachable offence against the US president, as the “aid flowed as it was supposed to”, according to her.