She did not toe the official White House line.
For weeks, the American national consciousness has been in a state of high awareness regarding matters of sexual harassment and assault, especially in politics. On Sunday, during an interview on CBS News morning show Face The Nation, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley took the conversation in a direction few Republicans have been willing to go: She said that the multiple women who’ve accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment and assault “should be heard.”
Face The Nation host John Dickerson began the interview by asking Haley about Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a controversial act contested by the majority of the international community and one which has heightened tensions throughout the Middle East. Haley defended the decision, calling it “courageous.”
Dickerson then pivoted to asking Haley about the current cultural moment regarding sexual misconduct, and the former South Carolina governor replied that she supported women speaking out about harassment and abuse.
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) December 10, 2017
“There’s a cultural shift going on in America right now,” Dickerson said. “Three members of Congress, kicked out of Congress because of sexual behavior, misdeeds. You were the first female [governor] of South Carolina, what do you think of this cultural moment?” Dickerson was referring to Democratic lawmakers Al Franken and John Conyers, as well as Republican lawmaker Trent Franks.
“I’m incredibly proud of the women who’ve come forward,” Haley said. “I’m proud of their strength, I’m proud of their courage, and I think that the idea that this is happening, I think it will start to bring a consciousness to the situation. Not just in politics, but in Hollywood, and in every industry. I think the time has come.”
Dickerson then asked Haley, in light of her remarks, how people should consider the multiple accusations of sexually predatory behavior against Trump. Nineteen different women have made allegations against the president; Trump has denied all the claims, calling his accusers “horrible liars.”
Ambassador Nikki Haley says President Trump's sexual misconduct accusers should be heard https://t.co/7VzN4uHxwf
— TIME (@TIME) December 10, 2017
“The same thing, women who accuse anyone should be heard,” Haley said. “They should be heard and they should be dealt with. I think we heard from them prior to the election, and I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.”
Dickerson then asked whether Haley meant that the outcome of the election rendered the allegations against Trump moot. Haley didn’t precisely answer the question, but she reiterated that women have a right to be heard.
“That’s for the people to decide. I know he was elected, but women should always feel comfortable coming forward, and we should all be willing to listen to them,” she said.
Haley, 45, has served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations since late January, despite having been an occasional critic of his throughout the presidential campaign. During the Republican primaries, she supported one of his opponents, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.