President Trump on Monday said he would not be announcing sanctions on Russia, as U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley prematurely said over the weekend before any plans were actually finalized or approved by the President.
The Trump Administration on Monday publicly characterized Haley’s comments as a “misstatement,” the Washington post reported, following her announcement that new sanctions would be imposed on Russia stemming from the April 7 chemical attack in Syria.
Haley had initially said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation”on Sunday that sanctions on Russian companies with connections to the equipment related to the attack would be announced Monday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down. Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn’t already,” Haley said on CBS. “And they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons used. And so I think everyone is going to feel it at this point. I think everyone knows that we sent a strong message, and our hope is that they listen to it.”
However, the President met with his national security advisers late Sunday and confided that he was upset that sanctions were being rolled out, it was reported. Trump was not comfortable executing sanctions, according to the Post’s sources.
Administration officials confirmed that economic sanctions were under serious consideration, along with other measures to be taken against Russia, but that no final authorization had been given by the President.
The administration said on Monday that it was unlikely Trump would implement any additional Russian sanctions without another triggering event.
The White House was quick to clear up any confusion on Monday. One administration official said that Haley got ahead of herself and made “an error that needs to be mopped up.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also said in a statement Monday: “We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future.”
Haley’s comments were also acknowledged by the Kremlin, as well.
Russian press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow that the sanctions were a U.S. ploy to oust Russia from international markets and constituted “undisguised attempts of unfair competition.”
Citing a Russian Foreign Ministry official, the Post confirmed that the Trump Administration did contact the Russian Embassy in Washington to notify them that sanctions were not coming.
The error was uncharacteristic of Haley, who is highly regarded in the West Wing. Administration officials often state that Haley is one of the most disciplined and cautious members of the Cabinet, and regularly checks in with the President personally before any important statements or interviews.
Some officials postulated that the miscommunication may have been a product of Haley’s tendency to speak directly with the President, sometimes outside of the normal policy process.
The President on Monday stressed that he still holds Haley in high regard.