After appointing Nikki Haley as his ambassador to the United Nations despite their differences, President Donald Trump has sparked criticism for suggesting on April 24 that he could fire her in an instant.
"Now, does everybody like Nikki?" the president said during a U.N. Security Council ambassador working lunch, according to the New York Daily News. "Because if you don't ... Otherwise, she can easily be replaced. No, we won’t do that, I promise. We won't do that. She's doing a fantastic job."
The president then criticized the U.N. as an institution that "doesn't like taking on certain problems" like the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people.
"I have long felt the United Nations is an underperformer but has tremendous potential," he said. "There are those people that think it's an underperformer and will never perform ... I'm so happy with the job that Nikki is doing and our representatives."
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Haley has spoken out against Syrian President Bashar Assad and called on the Security Council to retaliate after the chemical attack in early April, shortly before Trump commanded the Navy to fire 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian air base. The base was thought to be the source of the chemical weapons strikes.
"I want to thank Ambassador Nikki Haley for her outstanding leadership and for acting as my personal envoy on the Security Council," Trump said at the luncheon. "She's doing a good job."
The president's jibe about terminating the former South Carolina governor did not sit well with everyone.
"Let's make a joke about firing the woman at the table, and in so doing question her ability to do her job," one person commented on the Daily News' Facebook page. "Rich from a guy who can't do his."
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Another sarcastically remarked that Trump has "real respect for women," while somebody else called him "an absolute moron" to make that comment in her presence.
"That look on Ambassador Haley's face is priceless," somebody wrote of the moment Haley heard Trump's comment. "But she is actually good at her job, the woman is tough."
Others came to Trump's defense, with some saying the controversy was "fake news."
"She was talking badly about him prior so she dug her grave," remarked one person.
Trump and Haley have a contentious history dating back to the presidential election, when Haley opposed Trump during the Republican primaries.
"The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!" Trump tweeted in March 2016, after Haley described Trump as "everything a governor doesn't want in a president," according to The Washington Post.