Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called rumors of an alleged affair with President Donald Trump – fueled by author Michael Wolff’s appearance last week on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher – “disgusting” and “highly offensive.”
“It is absolutely not true,” Haley told Politico when asked about the rumors.
On the January 19 Real Time episode,Fire and Fury author Wolff told Maher that his much-discussed book contained one hidden “incendiary” revelation that no one had figured out: That Trump was having an ongoing affair, and that the identity of the woman could be determined by reading between the lines of a paragraph near the end of the book.
“Now that I’ve told you,” Wolff told Maher, “when you hit that paragraph you’re going to say ‘Bingo.’ ”
Though he didn’t name names (“I didn’t have the ultimate proof,” he told Maher, “I didn’t have the blue dress”), Wolff’s proof-free innuendo quickly spawned internet speculation that the unidentified Fire and Fury paragraph was this: “The president had been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley on Air Force One and was seen to be grooming her for a national political future.”
Haley, appearing on Politico’s Women Rule podcast, told reporter Eliana Johnson, “I have literally been on Air Force One once and there were several people in the room when I was there. (Wolff) says that I’ve been talking a lot with the president in the Oval about my political future. I’ve never talked once to the president about my future and I am never alone with him.”
Haley, noting the sexism behind the accusation, added that “it goes to a bigger issue that we need to always be conscious of: At every point in my life, I’ve noticed that if you speak your mind and you’re strong about it and you say what you believe, there is a small percentage of people that resent that and the way they deal with it is to try and throw arrows, lies or not.”
Maher did not address Wolff’s comment or Haley’s response during tonight’s Real Time or during the after-show YouTube-only Overtime segment.
But Haley did get support today from across the political aisle when Chelsea Clinton tweeted this:
Good for Ambassador Haley. Yes, it is possible to respectfully disagree with people & simultaneously be grateful when they stand up to misogyny. https://t.co/nTqmSKzrJq
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) January 26, 2018