U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Wednesday directly attributed the president’s warning against Syrian chemical attacks to saving “many innocent men, women and children.”
“I can tell you due to the president’s actions, we did not see an incident,” Haley said.
The White House issued a surprise announcement late on Monday that it had evidence Syria was preparing to launch another chemical attack and warned that it will “pay a heavy price” if it did so.
Appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday during a hearing on advancing U.S. interests at the U.N., the former South Carolina governor was asked by Chairman Ed Royce if the White House’s actions had any impact.
“Have you seen [Bashar] Assad’s regime take any steps in response to that warning?” Royce asked.
Haley responded by noting "that we did see before was all the same activity that we had seen prior to the April 4 chemical weapons attack."
"So I think by the president calling out Assad, I think by us continuing to remind Iran and Russia that while they choose to back Assad, that this was something we were not going to put up with," she said. “I would like to think the president saved many innocent men, women and children."
For her part, Haley reinforced the White House warning on Monday, via Twitter: "Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.”
The White House came under fire earlier this week for allegedly keeping its Syria statement under wraps from key agencies, as first reported by BuzzFeed. The administration on Tuesday flatly denied that claim.