On Thursday, United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley told NBC’s Matt Lauer that the U.S. “should never trust Russia,” and she believes the recent Russian cyberattacks by should be taken seriously. Haley’s comments take a tougher stance than that of President Trump, who’s remained resistant when questions are raised about Vladimir Putin’s country, even after U.S. intel confirmed that Russian hackers were behind 2016 election interference and the Yahoo hack.
Haley went on to explain that she’s always been wary of Russia and even said so during her confirmation hearing. Whereas Trump has consistently expressed hope that he and Putin can have a productive relationship, Haley said the U.S. should “take [cyberattacks] seriously. We cannot trust Russia. We should never trust Russia.” Additionally, she said once investigations have concluded, the U.S. should take action if it’s deemed necessary.
When pushed by Lauer over whether she’s on the same page as Trump, Haley said she couldn’t speak on his behalf. However, she called Trump “very open-minded about working with everyone” and didn’t question his associates’ ties with Russia:
“I really don’t, and I’ll tell you why: Because I’ve talked to him about it. And while they know of people, you’ve got to look at the fact that ambassadors’ jobs are to talk to everyone. That’s what I think we’ve seen the Russian ambassador do. At the same time, not once has he told me not to slam Russia. He’s not once told me, ‘Go and be nice to Russia.’ He’s letting me do my job.”
Haley’s comments, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remarks about North Korean diplomatic relations on Thursday, at least show that Trump’s associates are taking an old-fashioned, less Twitter-based approach to tackling issues.