Haley interview UN Watch

Nikki Haley, right, discusses a conversation she had with President Donald Trump about one year into her position as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Haley was interviewed April 10 by Hillel Neuer, left, the executive director of United Nations Watch. Screenshot. UN Watch YouTube video.

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Nikki Haley on UN resolutions: 'I don't think they matter'

The United Nations deals in resolutions. The international body used them to issue sanctions against North Korea and to criticize President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

Now, four months after stepping down from her post as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Haley said she’s not sure if resolutions from the international body matter.

"I don't think they matter," Haley said April 10, while being interviewed before a sold-out audience of 1,200 people at the historic Shaar Hashamayim synagogue in Montreal.

When the audience chuckled, Haley reiterated her position. "I don't," she repeated.

The remarks came toward the end of a nearly 45-minute Q&A with Hillel Neuer, executive director of United Nations Watch.

United Nations Watch is a non-governmental organization (NGO) whose stated mission is "to monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter."

It is also frequently critical of what it views as anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiment at the United Nations, and on April 10 the group was honoring Haley for the actions she took in standing up for Israel while she was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

In the interview, which was recently uploaded to YouTube by UN Watch, Haley also discussed a conversation she had with Trump about one year into her two-year stint at the United Nations.

"He said, 'So Nikki what do you think: Should we stay in? Should we get out? What do you think?'" Haley said, paraphrasing the conversation she had with the president.

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Haley said she told Trump during their conversation that the decision will ultimately have to be made by the American people, but not before she laid out her concerns about the international body itself.

"It’s heavily bureaucratic," Haley said, as her right index finger counted the first reason on her left pinkie. "It’s doubled in size in the last 10 years of people that they’ve hired and the only reason they hire them is because every country is fighting to have more of their people in the UN so it’s not ever reducing it’s just getting bigger."

She moved onto the next reason, counting it on her ring finger.

"It’s extremely wasteful. The money that is spent," Haley said, trailing off. "They are in the process of a reform, but it’s got so far to go. We were able to cut $1.3 billion in just the first year, and that was a drop in the bucket."

And finally, reaching her middle finger, the former South Carolina governor condemned the United Nations for being heavily political.

"There’s a lot of negatives that I can say but," Haley said, raising her right index finger upward for emphasis, "we would not have gotten those three North Korean sanctions packages; we would not have been able to isolate North Korea had it not been for the UN."

Haley, who has weighed in on foreign policy news both on Twitter and on the speech circuit since leaving the United Nations, told Neuer that the United Nations could become its own worst enemy if it does not adapt.

"The only way the UN will be effective is if it changes with the times. If it continues to go and call out Israel when we have issues in Syria, in North Korea, and Afghanistan and Africa and all of these other (places)," she said. "If it continues to do that, it’s weakening itself. It’s just becoming irrelevant."

On Wednesday, Haley will turn her attention to her hometown of Bamberg, South Carolina, where she will visit an after-school program as part of her work with The Original Six (O6) Foundation, which she created to address education in rural parts of the state.

Teachers say they will protest in Columbia on May 1

Public school teachers across South Carolina plan to leave work and protest in on May 1, but it’s unclear how many will participate and whether any school districts may opt to close schools on that day.

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Education reporter Paul Bowers reports educators will demand higher wages, smaller classroom sizes and other changes to their working conditions.

The protests come after months of hearings and debate at the Statehouse, where lawmakers and Republican Gov. Henry McMaster had vowed to overhaul the state’s education system.

It also comes one year after teachers in other states took a more dramatic route. In states like West Virginia and Oklahoma, teachers participated in strikes and walkouts that caused schools to shut down for weeks. In the end, those educators won concessions from their state governments on issues like classroom size and wages.

Read more about the scheduled protest in Columbia and what teachers are saying about it.

In other news:

  • A South Carolina judge has ordered a mental evaluation for the man accused of killing two officers and wounding five more in a mass shooting last fall in Florence. The mental competency exam was requested by the prosecutors office after the suspect, Fred Hopkins, wrote letters to The Post and Courier explaining that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Read more about what the judge decided.  (The Post and Courier)

  • Wall Street took notice of a report alleging shoddy production at Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner campus in North Charleston as analysts Monday said the claims, while unconfirmed, should spark a quick investigation. Read more about the ripple effects of that NYT report.  (The Post and Courier)

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AND ONE MORE THING: Clyburn weighs in

"Impeachment is still on the table. It has never been taken off the table. We just don't want to try to rush to something without going through the proper process."

House Majority Whip U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-Columbia, speaking to NPR's "All Things Considered" on Monday after participating in a conference call with House Democrats about the redacted Mueller report. Listen to the interview.

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Reach Caitlin Byrd at 843-937-5590 and follow her on Twitter @MaryCaitlinByrd.

Political Reporter

Caitlin Byrd is a political reporter at The Post and Courier and author of the Palmetto Politics newsletter. Before moving to Charleston in 2016, her byline appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times. To date, Byrd has won 17 awards for her work.

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