Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM radio’s daily program “The Dean Obeidallah Show” and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him @DeanObeidallah. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion articles on CNN.
(CNN)Before Nikki Haley left the Trump administration as the US ambassador to the United Nations, she was not afraid to disagree with Donald Trump publicly. For example, after Trump infamously sided with Vladimir Putin in July 2018 over US intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia’s had interfered in the 2016 US elections, Haley stated, “We don’t trust Russia. We don’t trust Putin,” adding, “They’re never going to be our friend.”
Dean ObeidallahBut like her fellow South Carolinian, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham — who at one time publicly criticized Trump but is now one of his most visible public defenders — that Haley is now gone. We saw that Saturday when she took to Twitter to defend Trump’s reported insults about the brave members of the nation’s armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice.Haley tweeted Saturday, “Biden should take this down,” adding a link to the ad that uses quotes from Jeffrey Goldberg’s report in The Atlantic that Trump, while in France in 2018 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, canceled a visit to a cemetery with US soldiers killed in that conflict, telling aides, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.”The ad, tweeted out by Biden on Friday, also quoted Trump as reportedly labeling US Marines killed in those battles as “suckers” and his statement after the death of former Republican senator and Vietnam war hero John McCain that “we’re not going to support that loser’s funeral.” The ad’s tagline: Mr. President, if you don’t respect our troops, you can’t lead them.Trump denies he made these comments, despite many being confirmed by various news outlets including Jennifer Griffin of Trump’s beloved Fox News. True to form, Trump called on Fox to “cancel” Griffin, tweeting, “Jennifer Griffin should be fired for this kind of reporting.”Read MoreThe President cannot comprehend true patriotismBeyond that, Trump told his own lies to bolster his claim the media was lying about these comments. He tweeted Thursday that he never called McCain a “loser,” even offering to “swear on whatever, or whoever, I was asked to swear on” to support his statement. In reality, Trump called McCain a loser in 2015 at a public event and in one of his tweets.But none of that mattered to Haley, who served as Trump’s UN ambassador until she abruptly resigned in 2018. She defended Trump in her take-down-this-ad tweet, writing she had “witnessed the tremendous amount of love and respect he has for our military.”It seems that Haley, who has long been mentioned as a possible future GOP presidential candidate, has decided that defending Trump at all costs is her best political play. Even Graham has not defended Trump regarding these comments. Haley could be right within the GOP given that Trump has remained very popular throughout his presidency with Republican voters, with a recent Quinnipiac University poll finding 90% of GOP voters approving of Trump’s job as President. But with Trump’s overall approval rating per a recent CNN poll at an anemic 41%, that’s a big gamble to take.Get our free weekly newsletter
Sign up for CNN Opinion’s new newsletter.
How this plays out for Haley is still unclear. But the warning from Lindsey Graham during the 2016 election — made when he was still willing to speak out against Trump — may finally turn out to be accurate after the votes are counted this election: “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed … and we will deserve it.”If that’s the case, Haley’s defense of Trump in this scandal may end up destroying her future political ambitions as well. And she, too, would deserve it.