You might not have any idea what President Donald Trump is going to tweet next about rival world leaders, but then neither does the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley.
“It makes it interesting,” Haley, a Trump confidante, told David Axelrod in an onstage interview Thursday night at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. “It makes it interesting that when I wake up, I don’t know what he’s going to tweet.”
Among the presidential zingers that have caught her unawares, she said, was Trump’s decision to dub North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Little Rocket Man.”
“I didn’t know it was coming — I saw it on Twitter, but he had to give the U.N. a big speech at the General Assembly,” said Haley, a member of the president’s Cabinet who also serves on the National Security Council.
“He called me about that and I said, ‘OK now, Mr. President, you need to understand, this is a serious crowd. They’re not going to rally, they’re not going to cheer, that’s just not who these people are, so don’t take that the wrong way. Just pretend that it’s church, you’re speaking in church.’
“So then he said, ‘Well, I’ve got to ask you, what do you think about me saying “Little Rocket Man” in the speech?’ I said, ‘It’s kind of a formal crowd … it would be different!’
“He said, ‘I think it’s catchy!’” Haley said, adding, “After the speech, other heads of state were calling (Kim) ‘Little Rocket Man’… so it works.”
The polished Haley, who gave a speech from a teleprompter before answering questions posed by Axelrod, said the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was “finishing up” his Middle East peace plan, which has been on hold since the U.S. controversially decided to move its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.