United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley told NBC News that President Donald Trump needs to take Russia’s attempts to influence last year’s presidential election “seriously.”
“We cannot trust Russia,” said Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, in an interview that aired Thursday on NBC’s “Today.” “We should never trust Russia.”
She said that “we have to find out exactly how involved they were” in the election and there should be action taken in response, once all the facts are known.
“When we see the facts, we absolutely should have some sort of action we take in response to it,” she said. “But, we have to know all the facts first.”
Haley said Trump has never told her to “not to slam Russia” in the course of her work.
“What he has allowed me to do is when I see something wrong, I call them out on it. I will always do that,” she said, “He’s not once told me, ‘Go and be nice to Russia.’ He’s letting me do my job.”
Asked if Trump had a “blind spot” when it comes to working with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, Haley replied that the president is “very open-minded about working with everyone.”
During the interview, Haley’s first since she began working for the Trump administration, she also defended the president’s travel ban while reiterating that she is opposed to a ban on Muslim immigration.
A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the enforcement of Trump’s revised travel ban.
“It’s not a Muslim ban,” Haley said. “I will never support a Muslim ban. I don’t think we should ever ban anyone based on their religion. That is un-American. It is not good. What the president is doing, everybody needs to realize that what he’s doing is saying, ‘Let’s take a step back. Let’s temporarily pause.’ ”
Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, said she doesn’t believe the travel ban discriminates against a religion.
“He’s saying let’s temporarily pause, and you prove to me that the vetting is OK, that I can trust these people coming through for the American people,” she said.