Nikki Haley; Donald Trump (AP Photo)

Nikki Haley's spin: World leaders weren't laughing at Trump's false claim, but rather out of respect

"I saw that the media was trying to make it something disrespectful," Haley argued on Fox. "That’s not what it was"


Rachel Leah
September 26, 2018 8:12PM (UTC)

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, addressed the laughter that was generated by President Donald Trump's remarks to the United Nations General Assembly, insisting to "Fox & Friends" Wednesday that "the media's got this so wrong."

On Tuesday, Trump described his administration as accomplishing more, in less than two years, "than almost any administration in the history of our country." In the room, the laughter that followed his false boast was audible.

But, according to Haley, the world leaders and dignitaries actually laughed, because they "respect" Trump. "When he said that, they love how honest he is," the diplomat claimed. "And it's not diplomatic and they find it funny."

Haley further alleged that the audience was taken aback by the president's honesty, because "they're not use to it."

"All day yesterday, they were falling over themselves to get a picture with him, to talk about how great his speech was," she added. "They love that he’s honest with them, and they’ve never seen anything like it. So there’s respect there. I saw that the media was trying to make it something disrespectful. That’s not what it was ― they love to be with him."

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Later in the day, on Tuesday, Trump claimed to reporters that the audience's chuckles were "great" and that the line that generated it had been intended to inspire amusement. "Well that was mean to get some laughter," the president claimed.

However, Trump's spin following his speech contrasted sharply with his immediate reaction while on the world stage. After the president boasted of his administration's accomplishments ― and doubled down by noting that his remarks were "so true" ― he appeared to be caught off guard as laughter consumed the room. "I didn't expect that reaction, but that's OK," he said, leading the audience to laugh even harder.

Given the comical response to Trump's remarks, many have recirculated a four-year-old tweet in which he criticized former President Barack Obama for being a "laughing stock." "We need a President who isn't a laughing stock to the entire World," he wrote. "We need a truly great leader, a genius at strategy and winning. Respect!"

Media watchers also called out Fox News, the president's favorite TV news channel, for editing out the most newsworthy part of Trump's speech ― the laughter ― from videos posted to its official Twitter account.

In Haley's interview with "Fox & Friends" Wednesday morning, the ambassador claimed that criticism of Trump has "gotten so disgusting, really."

"I mean, the idea that he's not mentally fit, the idea that we would be talking about the 25th amendment ― none of that is true," Haley added. "It couldn't be farther from the truth. You've got a president who is nonstop going all the time. The Cabinet's just trying to keep up with him."

"He's getting things done left and right. How can you honestly think a man who doesn't know what he's doing is getting this much done on jobs, on trade deals, on foreign policy?" Haley asked. "Look at the stock market. Americans are living better than they ever have, and you're going to go question his leadership?"

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Rachel Leah

Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah.

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