'Affair with Trump? What nonsense!' says Nikki Haley
Washington: Indian American Nikki Haley, the top US diplomat to the UN, has described rumours about her having an affair with President Donald Trump as "highly offensive" and "disgusting".
"It is absolutely not true," she said on Friday.
Haley the first ever Indian-American Cabinet-ranking official in any presidential administration strongly quelled rumours in this regard as "highly offensive and disgusting," in the interview with 'Politico'.
"I have literally been on Air Force One once and there were several people in the room when I was there," Haley said.
"He says that I've been talking a lot with the president in the Oval about my political future. I've never talked once to the president about my future and I am never alone with him," she said referring to allegations against her in a recent book 'Fire and Fury' by New York-based author Michael Wolff.
"So, the idea that these things come out, that's a problem," she said expressing her frustration on such rumours.
"But it goes to a bigger issue that we need to always be conscious of: At every point in my life, I've noticed that if you speak your mind and you're strong about it and you say what you believe, there is a small percentage of people that resent that and the way they deal with it is to try and throw arrows, lies or not," Haley, 46, said during her interview.
In politics for over a decade now, the former South Carolina governor said she has faced similar allegations earlier too.
"I saw this as a legislator. I saw this when I was governor. I see it now. I see them do it to other women. And the thing is, when women work, they prioritise, they focus, and they believe if you're gonna do something, do it right," Haley said. "Others see that as either too ambitious or stepping out of line. And the truth is, we need to continue to do our job and if that means they consider it stepping out of line, fine. And if that means they're gonna throw stones, people see lies for what it is. Do I like it? No. Is it right? No. Is it gonna slow me down? Not at all. Every time this has happened, it only makes me fight harder.
"And I do it for the sake of other women that are behind me because they should never think that they have to put their head down and cower out of fear that somebody's gonna do something to you," Haley said.
During the interview, she also said she is greatly influenced by former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, with whom she lunches every month. "And what Dr Kissinger has taught me is, get into the shoes of the other person: Think like the Russians, see what the motivations of the Russians are, then decide how you re gonna act.
"Think like the Chinese, what are the Chinese worried about? Why would they be making that decision? And when you start to make decisions based on what they're thinking, then you all of a sudden have a conversation that they can relate to," she said.