Haley says chemical attack could happen in US ‘if we’re not smart’
United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said the United States must continue to act “smart” when chemical weapons are used or a similar attack could happen on American soil.
“This very easily could happen in the United States if we’re not smart, and if we’re not conscious of what’s happening,” Haley said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“We have to be very conscious of the fact that we cannot allow even the smallest use of chemical weapons,” she continued.
“That’s why you saw the president strike this past weekend, that’s why you saw him expel 60 Russian spies after the attack in Salisbury.”
The ambassador also said the Trump administration would strike back at Russia, which has supported Syria in its seven-year civil war, by imposing sanctions.
“You will see that Russian sanctions will be coming down. [Treasury] Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin will be announcing those on Monday if he hasn’t already and they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use,” she said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Haley said the US intends to make sure the supporters of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad feel the consequences of the chemical weapons attack.
“We wanted their friends Iran and Russia to know that we meant business and that they were going to be feeling the pain from this as well,” she said.
The United States, along with allies France and Britain, struck Syria with a barrage of missiles in retaliation for Assad’s chemical weapons attack last week on his people in Douma, a suburb of the capital, Damascus, which killed dozens and injured hundreds more.
The closely coordinated airstrikes crippled Assad’s chemical weapons program.
“We put a heavy blow into their chemical weapons program, setting them back years,” Haley said. “Hopefully he’s gotten the message, it was a pretty strong message.”
Asked about a diplomatic solution in Syria, Haley said Assad is “not worthy” of direct talks.
“We would never want to have direct talks with Syria at this point. They are not worthy of talks with the United States. They have done nothing but brutalize their people and destroy their land. All in the name of power,” she said on CBS.
Haley, who warned in a speech Saturday at the United Nations Security Council that the US is “locked and loaded” in case of another chemical weapons attack, urged Russia to use its influence on Assad.
“It’s Russia’s turn to deliver Syria to the table for that political process. So it’s moving. It’s not moving near as fast as any of us want it to move. But this is a political process that needs to happen,” she said.
Trump joined with Britain, France and other allies on March 15 to condemn Russia’s nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in the UK earlier in the month.
Trump and the other nations expelled more than 100 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.