U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the Trump administration would levy fresh sanctions on Russia following the recent chemical attack in Syria -- and then President Donald Trump stepped in the next day and struck down the plan.
Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, announced Sunday that the Trump administration was going to hit Russia with new sanctions on Monday over its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons program in the wake of the April 7 chemical attack in Douma, Syria, that killed dozens of people. The sanctions were explicitly focused on Russian companies that deal in equipment linked to Assad’s chemical weapons program.
But just a day later, the White House backtracked, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying that the administration was merely “considering additional sanctions on Russia” and that “a decision will be made in the near future.”
Why? Trump wasn’t on board with the sanctions:
According to the Washington Post, after Haley announced the sanctions on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday morning, Trump told national security advisers he was “upset the sanctions were being officially rolled out because he was not yet comfortable executing them.”
A Russian foreign ministry official said on Monday that the Trump administration contacted the Russian embassy on Sunday and told them that the sanctions that Haley had mentioned were not actually coming.
As Vox notes, this marks the second time in recent weeks that Trump has found himself at odds with others in his administration.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Trump became furious after learning the United States had issued a more severe response to the Russian chemical attack in the U.K.
The president believed he had been misled when he okay'd the decision to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the U.S., thinking his action would match those of U.S. allies.
In actuality, the U.S. expelled far more than any other country but was on par with the total number of Russians removed from participating European nations.
Growing angrier, Trump insisted that his aides had misled him about the magnitude of the expulsions. “There were curse words,” the official said, “a lot of curse words.”