In a decisive break from the rest of the Trump administration, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Sunday that women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct “should be heard.”
Speaking to moderator John Dickerson on CBS’s Face the Nation , Haley said she was “incredibly proud of the women who have come forward.”
Haley’s comments mark the first time a high-ranking woman inside Trump’s cabinet has spoken in defense of Trump’s alleged victims. In a White House that places a premium on loyalty, her remarks show a crack in the previously unified cabinet on the topic of whether the women accusing Trump should be given credibility.
Women hold just 27% of the positions in Trump’s cabinet, but other female staff have defended Trump on the topic of possible misconduct. When asked on Monday about allegations against Trump, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “Look, the President has addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations. We feel like these allegations have been answered.”
And at the end of the campaign season, when the Access Hollywood tapes caught audio of Trump bragging about regularly groping women, former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway worked hard to defend her boss, saying he was “always gracious and a gentleman” to her.
If allegations against Trump are to be taken seriously, it will only be because a massive cohort within the Republican party demands an investigation. Yesterday, three women who allege that Trump assaulted them spoke together on the TODAY Show and at a press conference. The women are calling for a Congressional investigation of the evidence against Trump. But, as Democrats showed last week with the sudden ouster of Sen. Al Franken, a party that acts from within to condemn indecent behavior by its own members will meet with swift success.
Though Nikki Haley neither condemned Trump nor called for his resignation, her request that women be heard was a small step in the right direction for Republicans.