It became fairly obvious yesterday that the mainstream media was quite frustrated over the way outgoing UN Ambassador Nikki Haley was able to plan and announce her resignation without the news leaking out to them first. This was particularly true over at the Washington Post, where The Fix insisted that the whole thing smelled fishy. What might have been an even bigger source of frustration was the way that Haley cut off one of the press corps’ favorite themes by announcing that not only would she not be running to replace President Trump in 2020, but that she would be actively campaigning for him.
Haley is a rising star and a widely popular political figure in the GOP, so having her on his side is no doubt a plus for the President. He reflected his gratitude by telling her she could essentially pick any position in the administration she liked if she decided to come back. But that wasn’t enough for the Washington Post, it seems. Despite her assurances that she was still an enthusiastic member of the team, the WaPo’s Ashley Parker launched into a report describing Haley as “a potential threat to Trump.”
Parker attempts to build her case about Haley in the opening paragraph, describing her as, “the rare former White House official who leaves Trump’s orbit as a political force who could pose a potential threat to the president.” But after that, in 29 painful paragraphs ranging from a recounting of Haley’s history as Ambassador to the times when she differed with the President, there’s only one, vague, ominous section which even hints at what this “threat” Haley represents might be. And to get that she has to go fishing for a quote from Mike Murphy. (Not exactly a MAGA type, Trump-loving guy.)
“She’s a rising star and he’s king, so there’s always an inherent tension there,” said Mike Murphy, a longtime Republican strategist and Trump critic. “Politically, any star in the party is a threat to Trump because in his Stalinesque way, there’s only one sun god and it has to be Trump.”
That’s it. Out of the entire, epic-length article, the only thing the author dredges up to support the title of the piece and the claim that Haley represents some sort of threat to Donald Trump is a Mike Murphy quote claiming that Trump doesn’t like anyone who may be seen as outshining his own star. But it’s not as if you have to beat the bushes very long to find Murphy taking digs at the President. (And I say this as someone who has enjoyed Mike’s commentary for a long time, even if we disagree fairly often.) Here’s one of his latest tweets as of this morning.
The press doesn’t have a scandal to hang around Haley’s neck. (Remember how well Curtain-Gate worked out for them?) Nor can they make her into some new NeverTrump champion. And it’s clearly driving them insane. Perhaps something startling will still rise from the ashes of this resignation story, but there’s not even a hint of that yet. In the end, much to the dismay of the anti-Trump media, this may simply be a case of a popular Republican figure taking some time off to tend to family life while keeping her options open for the future. She’s certainly not burning any bridges on her way out. If anyone should be worried it’s probably Mike Pence, assuming he has presidential ambitions of his own once Trump leaves office.