Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, emphatically denied “disgusting” and “highly offensive” rumors that she had an affair with President Donald Trump. Michael Wolff, author of the salacious smear volume Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, launched the rumors last week, and readers started asking questions.
“It is absolutely not true,” Haley said. She went on to note that such rumors are often hurled at successful women. She also emphatically shot down Wolff’s stories about her time spent with the president.
Wolff teased the affair on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” last week. The author said he was “absolutely sure” the president is having an affair, and he said enterprising readers could find evidence of that affair in his book.
The evidence? Apparently no more than one sentence: “The president had been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley on Air Force One and was seen to be grooming her for a national political future.” Haley emphatically shot the entire statement down.
“I have literally been on Air Force One once and there were several people in the room when I was there,” she said in a Politico podcast interview Thursday. She insisted that the only time she had ever boarded the presidential plane was on a flight from Washington, D.C., to Long Island, New York last July.
The ambassador also rejected the second half of Wolff’s claim: “He says that I’ve been talking a lot with the president in the Oval about my political future. I’ve never talked once to the president about my future and I am never alone with him.”
Haley argued that this revealed a deeper problem. “It goes to a bigger issue that we need to always be conscious of: At every point in my life, I’ve noticed that if you speak your mind and you’re strong about it and you say what you believe, there is a small percentage of people that resent that and the way they deal with it is to try and throw arrows, lies or not,” she said.
This isn’t the first time the former South Carolina governor has faced salacious rumors, however. During her campaign for governor in 2010, two men claimed to have had affairs with her.
“I saw this as a legislator. I saw this when I was governor. I see it now. I see them do it to other women,” Haley said. “And the thing is, when women work, they prioritize, they focus, and they believe if you’re gonna to something, do it right.”
“Others see that as either too ambitious or stepping out of line. And the truth is, we need to continue to do our job and if that means they consider it stepping out of line, fine. And if that means they’re gonna throw stones, people see lies for what it is. Do I like it? No. Is it right? No. Is it gonna slow me down? Not at all,” she declared.
“Every time this has happened, it only makes me fight harder. And I do it for the sake of other women that are behind me because they should never think that they have to put their head down and cower out of fear that somebody’s gonna do something to you.”
The ambassador told Politico her whole political story, how this daughter of Indian immigrants rose to political prominence, and why she joined the Trump administration after opposing Donald Trump in the Republican primary.
Haley had said she was “not a fan” of the candidate, who responded by denouncing her on Twitter: “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!”
The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2016
Haley, a rising star in the GOP, nevertheless accepted Trump’s call to join his administration. “This has left like a big crash course, but I love it,” Haley told Politico. “I am a fast learner and especially when it’s something I love, I soak it all in.”
When Haley was accused of sleeping around in 2010, she won her election anyway. This woman of steel will continue to stand up, and this latest round of attacks will leave her unscathed. Michael Wolff should be ashamed of himself, but Nikki Haley will only become more inspiring as the truth comes out.