Nikki Haley’s damning defense of Trump

On the one hand, Haley insists that it’s a constitutional duty for the president’s will to be followed. On the other hand, it’s a constitutional excuse for him that his will wasn’t followed. When Kelly, who served as chief of staff, and Tillerson, Trump’s first secretary of state, second-guess the president, they are usurping power our Constitution gave him. But when the president issues a command, sometimes it’s really more of a suggestion.

Trump’s underlings have certainly been willing to treat his wishes as idle talk before, and sometimes even to defy him. Their insubordination has kept Trump out of trouble before, too. As the report from special prosecutor Robert Mueller detailed, former White House counsel Don McGahn refused to fire Mueller when Trump directed him to do so. If McGahn had obeyed, Trump would likely have faced an earlier and more bipartisan impeachment.

Was McGahn, by Haley’s standards, serving Trump or undermining him? What about the reports that Trump has sometimes urged aides to break laws and promised to pardon them afterward? The aides decided to treat those remarks as a “joke.” Assuming Haley believes these reports, were these aides, too, acting illegitimately?

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