President Trump seems to have changed his mind on the plans for sanctions against Russia. While on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley didn’t just defend the airstrikes in Syria, she declared news about the Assad regime’s allies.
When asked if those allies of Syria, like Russia, would face new consequences, Haley responded: “Absolutely. So you will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down. [Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin] will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn’t already.”
Putin’s government condemned the Trump administration’s plans, and it was not long before Trump decided to “put the brakes on” the idea, according to the Washington Post.
“… Trump conferred with his national security advisers later Sunday and told them he was upset the sanctions were being officially rolled out because he was not yet comfortable executing them, according to several people familiar with the plan.
Administration officials said the economic sanctions were under serious consideration, along with other measures that could be taken against Russia, but said Trump had not given final authorization to implement them. Administration officials said Monday it was unlikely Trump would approve any additional sanctions without another triggering event by Russia, describing the strategy as being in a holding pattern.”
The Washington Post article also added that following Haley’s comments, “the Trump administration notified the Russian Embassy in Washington that the sanctions were not in fact coming, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said Monday.”
This significant change may indicate the cautiousness with which Trump moves regarding Russia and also how divided the Trump camp can be, especially on matters of foreign policy. Haley and Trump have countered each other several times before. They previously said the opposite about the U.S. policy on Syria, the two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, and their policy towards Venezuela.
These contradictions make it hard to believe that the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations can speak authoritatively on behalf of the president.