Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claims in his upcoming memoir that former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley plotted with former President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner to try to become Trump’s vice president, according to an excerpt of the book obtained by CNN.
Pompeo, in his book “Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love,” takes several shots at potential 2024 Republican rivals, including Haley and former national security adviser John Bolton, as the onetime Kansas congressman and CIA director fuels speculation about his own presidential ambitions.
Pompeo writes that he was told by John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff at the time, that Haley had scheduled a meeting with the president to discuss what she claimed was a personal matter and then came to the Oval Office meeting with Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who were serving as White House senior advisers.
“As best Kelly could tell, they were presenting a possible ‘Haley for vice president’ option. I can’t confirm this, but he was certain he had been played, and he was not happy about it. Clearly, this visit did not reflect a team effort but undermined our work for America,” Pompeo writes in his book.
CNN has reached out to Kelly for comment on Pompeo’s claim.
Haley refuted Pompeo’s allegations on Thursday, saying she “never had a conversation with Jared, Ivanka, or the president about the vice presidentship.”
“Pompeo even says he’s not sure if it’s true,” the former South Carolina governor told Fox News, dismissing the claim as “gossip” and saying “there is no truth to it.”
“What I’ll tell you is it’s really sad when you’re having to go out there and put lies and gossip to sell a book,” Haley said. “I don’t know why he said it but that’s exactly why I stayed out of DC as much as possible – to get away from the drama and get away from the gossip.
But a White House source from that time has backed Pompeo’s claim, adding more context by recalling how Kushner and Ivanka Trump were pushing Haley to be secretary of state to succeed Rex Tillerson, who had objected to Kushner getting involved in foreign relations too often and in ways Tillerson disagreed with.
But the president was not enamored with the idea and went with Pompeo, with whom he got along better and whom he liked more, the source said.
After that switch, Trump began talking negatively about his vice president, Mike Pence, who he thought was too often trying to convince him to back off controversial statements or actions. Kushner and Ivanka Trump began pushing Haley again, the source said. Kelly tried to talk the president out of it, arguing that Pence had helped win him the support of evangelical Christian voters in 2016. Kelly was surprised, the source said, that Pence lasted through the 2020 election.
Pompeo, whose book will be published next week, is also scathing in his assessment of Bolton, who has said he may launch a presidential bid to stop Trump from getting a second term in office.
Pompeo takes issue with Bolton’s 2020 book “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir” and claims the former Trump national security adviser divulged classified information and should be prosecuted.
“His self-serving stories contained classified information and deeply sensitive details about conversations involving a sitting commander in chief,” Pompeo writes. “That’s the very definition of treason.”
“John Bolton should be in jail for spilling classified information. I hope I can one day testify at a criminal trial as a witness for the prosecution,” Pompeo writes.
When Bolton wrote the book, there was significant controversy over security reviews of the book before it was published.
“My book was fully cleared in the prepublication review process conducted by the cognizant career NSC Senior Director, whose home agency was the National Archives,” Bolton told CNN in response to Pompeo’s claims.
“Pompeo’s comments tell you more about his character than about my book,” he added.
Trump remains the only declared candidate in the 2024 presidential election, but several Republicans have signaled they could jump into the race. CNN has reported that President Joe Biden plans to launch his reelection campaign sometime after his State of the Union address, which is scheduled for February 7.