President Donald Trump on Monday put the brakes on a preliminary plan to impose additional economic sanctions on Russian Federation, walking back a Sunday announcement by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
"With all due respect, I don't get confused", Haley, a member of President Donald Trump's cabinet, told Fox News.
"We are considering additional sanctions on Russian Federation and a decision will be made in the near future", press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday.
So, when it came time for White House officials to answer for this, instead of shouldering the obvious blame for poor communication with one of Trump's top officials, or admitting they had simply changed their minds, they threw Haley under the bus.
The whole spectacle was not only embarrassing for spotlighting the lack of organization among the men running Trump's bumbling White House, but for its naked attempt to deflect that by making it all Haley's fault for getting, like, confused and stuff. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to describe private discussions. Trump is unlikely to approve additional sanctions against Russia until another triggering event by the Russians.
"She got ahead of the curve", he insisted before offering, "She's done a great job, she's a very effective ambassador". "Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn't already".
The administration characterized Haley's comments as a misstatement and informed the Russian embassy that sanctions were not coming. She regularly checks in with Trump personally to go over her planned statements before she sits for television interviews.
It gets even more pathetic, if you can believe it.
Multiple administration officials said they expected the sanctions would be announced in the days after the Syria strikes on Friday night, when even Trump warned the USA response to Syria's suspected use of chemical weapons would "integrate all instruments of our national power - military, economic, and diplomatic".
The United States has taken a series of recent measures against Russia, including expelling diplomats over a poisoning case in Britain and imposing sanctions against 24 Russians, including Putin allies, over interference in the U.S. presidential election and other "malign activity".
The newest economic sanctions against Russian Federation were under serious consideration, but had yet to receive final approval from the president.
It was also not immediately clear whether the sanctions Haley had previewed - and which multiple officials said were coming down the pike - were still impending. She appears to have emerged from the combative approach unscathed - a rare feat in Trump's orbit.
The reasons why Haley refused to take the heat for Sunday's miscommunication became clearer on Tuesday and Wednesday, with three administration officials telling CNN that Trump changed his mind on imposing additional sanctions on Russian Federation.
"Lots of people got yelled at - some by the president", said a US official at the United Nations.