Ambassador Nikki Haley says Trump doesn't want war with North Korea

After President Trump delivered some of his harshest threats directed at the North Korean regime at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tells "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday that Mr. Trump doesn't actually want to go war with the North Koreans. 

"No one wants war, the president doesn't want war, we tried to do this through dialogue, we tried to do this through sanctions we've tried every diplomatic matter we can, and we're not giving up on that," said Haley, appearing to shift from Mr. Trump's warning of "total destruction" in his first speech to the General Assembly. 

While Haley says that the U.S. has "lots of military options" to approaching the regime, she said the issue at hand is trying to get North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's attention. 

"No one knows how to get his attention so all you can do is continue to let him know what could happen if he doesn't stop," said Haley. "Everyone is trying out how to get to Kim, that's the problem, we just don't know how."

Haley even noted Mr. Trump's use of the nickname for the leader "Rocket Man" has quickly caught on at the UN. 

"I had a meeting with the president of Uganda the day before and he was referring to Kim as 'Rocket Man' before the president even gave the speech," remarked Haley. 

Meanwhile, the ambassador agreed with the president's tone on addressing the Iran nuclear deal, which he referred to as "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the U.S. has ever entered" and deemed it an "embarrassment to the U.S."

Haley said that while the rhetoric in his speech was not a "clear signal he plans to withdraw" from the deal, it showed he's "clearly not happy" with it.

"The United States is not safer because of it, I think if you look at, yes, on one side it deals with the nuclear development, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) which everyone talks about, but U.S. law requires it to look at other things which Iran is in violation of," said Haley, pointing to claims of Iran smuggling arms and continuing its testing of ballistic missiles in the region. 

Her message to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani: "I think what he needs to do is instead of focusing on us leaving the agreement, he needs to start following the rules."

She added, "He's got to stop smuggling arms, he's got to stop all of the meddling they're doing over the Middle East, stop the ballistic missile testing, he is not keeping his end of the deal, and what he's trying to do is put it on us, but we have to keep it on him."

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital