Speed Reads

Trump White House

The State Department is trying to rein in U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley

President Trump's United Nations ambassador, Nikki Haley, is one of the most outspoken members of Trump's foreign policy team, and the State Department is trying to make sure she isn't getting too far ahead of the Trump administration on foreign policy, The New York Times reports, citing an email to Haley's office from State Department diplomats. When she is preparing remarks, Haley should rely on "building blocks" established by the State Department, the email said, and her comments should be "re-cleared with Washington if they are substantively different from the building blocks, or if they are on a high-profile issue such as Syria, Iran, Israel-Palestine," or North Korea.

Unusually, Haley is a much more visible Cabinet member than her boss, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is as reticent and press-shy as Haley is comfortable in the spotlight. The two will appear together for the first time on Friday at a U.N. Security Council meeting on North Korea. The State Department and Haley's office both declined to comment to The New York Times, but a member of the Trump transition team, James Carafano, said there's no tension. "Any notion that there's some kind of competition between Haley and Tillerson is laughable," he said. "She's filling a role and is comfortable in that role, and I don't think Tillerson feels threatened by that."

Rivalries are nothing novel in the Trump White House, and a White House aide told the Times that some inside the administration believe Haley is too visible. A Security Council member, on the other hand, said her high-profile role chaperoning 14 Security Council members around the White House on Monday — Tillerson was not there — appeared designed to showcase her prominence. Trump illustrated this dynamic with an awkward joke at Monday's luncheon. "Now, does everybody like Nikki?" he asked Haley's Security Council colleagues. "Because if you don't, otherwise, she can easily be replaced." After a bit of uncomfortable laughter, Trump made clear he was joking. "No, we won't do that, I promise," he said. "We won't do that. She's doing a fantastic job."