UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on TODAY: 'I will never support a Muslim ban'

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United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley defended President Trump's attempt to ban travel from majority-Muslim countries, saying his executive orders aren't the same as the Muslim ban he promised during his presidential campaign.

"It's not a Muslim ban. I will never support a Muslim ban. I don't think we should ever ban anyone based on their religion," said Haley, who firmly opposed the idea last year when she was the governor of South Carolina. "That is un-American. It is not good. What the president is doing, everybody needs to realize that what he's doing is saying, 'Let's take a step back. Let's temporarily pause.'"

In her first interview since she began working for the Trump administration, Haley spoke Wednesday with TODAY's Matt Lauer just hours before a federal judge in Hawaii blocked enforcement of the ban, right before the executive order was scheduled to go into effect Thursday.

Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, told TODAY that she does not believe the president's order discriminates or has anything to do with religion.

"He's saying let's temporarily pause, and you prove to me that the vetting is okay, that I can trust these people coming through for the American people," she said.

See photos of Haley through the years:

23 PHOTOS
Nikki Haley through the years
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Nikki Haley through the years

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, nominee to be the US ambassador to the United Nations, walks through the Capitol to the Senate subway on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on her nomination to be to U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 18, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Delegates pose for pictures with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (C) on the floor during the third session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

U.S.Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at the Federalist Society, 2016 National Lawyers Convention at the Mayflower Hotel, on November 18, 2016 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley delivers remarks at the Federalist Society 2016 National Lawyers Convention in Washington, U.S., November 18, 2016.

(REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (L) and U.S. Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio react on stage during a campaign event in Chapin, South Carolina February 17, 2016. Haley announced her endorsement of Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination.

(REUTERS/Chris Keane)

Escorted by staff and security, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (C) moves from one television interview to another across from the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church June 19, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Haley called for the death penalty for Dylann Storm Roof, 21, of Lexington, South Carolina, if he is found guilty of murdering nine people during a prayer meeting at the church Wednesday night. Among the dead is the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of the church which, according to the National Park Service, is the oldest black congregation in America south of Baltimore.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, right, greets U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-SC, at the first church service four days after a mass shooting that claimed the lives of nine people at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Church June 21, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Chruch elders decided to hold the regularly scheduled Sunday school and worship service as they continue to grieve the shooting death of nine of its members including its pastor earlier this week.

(Photo by Paul Zoeller-Pool/Getty Images)

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley speaks to press outside the Emanuel AME Church June 19, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.US police arrested a white high school dropout Thursday suspected of carrying out a gun massacre at one of America's oldest black churches, the latest deadly assault to fuel simmering racial tensions. Authorities detained 21-year-old Dylann Roof, shown wearing the flags of defunct white supremacist regimes in pictures taken from social media, after nine churchgoers were shot dead during a Bible study class on Wednesday evening.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Escorted by staff and security, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (C) moves from one television interview to another across from the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church June 19, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. Haley called for the death penalty for Dylann Storm Roof, 21, of Lexington, South Carolina, if he is found guilty of murdering nine people during a prayer meeting at the church Wednesday night. Among the dead is the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the pastor of the church which, according to the National Park Service, is the oldest black congregation in America south of Baltimore.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley holds a news conference with fellow members of the Republican Governors Association at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce February 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. Republican and Democratic governors met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House Monday during the last day of the National Governors Association winter meeting.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley waves on stage during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Today is the first full session of the RNC after the start was delayed due to Tropical Storm Isaac.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Former Florida Governor and potential GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush walks with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley during a visit to Sistercare, a non-profit that aids domestic violence victims and their children on March 17, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Bush announced in December that he 'actively explore' a presidential run in 2016. He is currently on a two day tour through South Carolina and will attend several fundraising events.

(Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)

Nikki Haley applauds the Claflin College Choir after their performance during her inauguration as governor of South Carolina, Wednesday, January 12, 2011, in Columbia, South Carolina.

(Tim Dominick/The State/MCT via Getty Images)

US Republican Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 15, 2013.

(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Republican candidate for South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) smiles along with her husband Michael Haley (L) and daughter Rena (C) as they watch the runoff election results at the Columbia Sheraton on June 22, 2010 in Columbia, South Carolina. Haley defeated Rep. Gresham Barrett in a runoff election.

(Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images)

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley speaks to the media prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 12, 2012 in Darlington, South Carolina.

(Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives a birthday cake to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley during a campaign rally at Charleston Area Convention Center on January 20, 2012 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Romney continues to campaign for votes in South Carolina ahead of their primary on January 21.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Nikki Haley speaks to supporters as she comes onto stage during an election party for Republican South Carolina Governor candidate Nikki Haley at the State Museum on June 22, 2010 in Columbia, South Carolina. Haley defeated Rep. Gresham Barrett in a runoff election.

(Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images)

Republican candidate for South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) smiles along with her husband Michael Haley (L) and daughter Rena (C) as they watch the runoff election results at the Columbia Sheraton on June 22, 2010 in Columbia, South Carolina. Haley defeated Rep. Gresham Barrett in a runoff election.

(Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images)

South Carolina State Rep. Nikki Haley from Lexington, pictured on May 14, 2009, is launching a bid to become South Carolina's first female governor.

(Photo by Tim Dominick/The State/MCT via Getty Images)

UNITED STATES - JUNE 22: Nikki Haley

(Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images)

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Haley also addressed her views on Russia, which U.S. authorities say hacked into Democratic email during the presidential campaign. Trump needs to take those threats "seriously," she said.

"We cannot trust Russia. We should never trust Russia," she said.

But Haley said she has no concerns about the relationship between Trump and the Russians, particularly their president.

"I think he's very open minded about working with everyone. He doesn't want to cut anyone off," she said.

"What he has allowed me to do is when I see something wrong, I call them out on it. I will always do that," she promised, later adding, "He's not once told me, 'Go and be nice to Russia.' He's letting me do my job."

Haley said she doesn't have major concerns over the fact that Trump's proposed budget includes dramatic funding cuts for the State Department, which could affect money for what she needs to do at the United Nations.

RELATED: Business leaders react to Trump administration's travel ban:

20 PHOTOS
Business leaders react to Trump administration's travel ban
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Business leaders react to Trump administration's travel ban

Bill Ford and Mark Fields, executive chairman and CEO of Ford

"Respect for all people is a core value of Ford Motor Company, and we are proud of the rich diversity of our company here at home and around the world." - Memo to employees

REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

"Like many of you, I'm concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump ...

"These issues are personal for me even beyond my family. A few years ago, I taught a class at a local middle school where some of my best students were undocumented. They are our future too. We are a nation of immigrants, and we all benefit when the best and brightest from around the world can live, work and contribute here. I hope we find the courage and compassion to bring people together and make this world a better place for everyone." 

Read full statement here

REUTERS/Mariana Bazo/File Photo

Elon Musk, Tesla CEO

"The blanket entry ban on citizens from certain primarily Muslim countries is not the best way to address the country’s challenges.

"Many people negatively affected by this policy are strong supporters of the US. They've done right,not wrong & don't deserve to be rejected." - Twitter

REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

Tim Cook, Apple CEO

"Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do." - Memo to employees

(Photo credit JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

"This executive order is one we do not support.

"We're a nation of immigrants whose diverse backgrounds, ideas, and points of view have helped us build and invent as a nation for over 240 years.... It's a distinctive competitive advantage for our country—one we should not weaken." - Memo to employees

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO

"Trump's actions are hurting Netflix employees around the world, and are so un-American it pains us all. Worse, these actions will make America less safe (through hatred and loss of allies) rather than more safe. A very sad week, and more to come with the lives of over 600,000 Dreamers here in a America under imminent threat. It is time to link arms together to protect American values of freedom and opportunity." - Facebook

REUTERS/Steve Marcus/Files 

Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO

"There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business. "

- Read full statement here

REUTERS/David Ryder (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS)

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square and CEO of Twitter

"11% of Syrian immigrants to the U.S. are business owners, more than triple that of U.S.-born business owners" - Twitter

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files

Mark Parker, Nike CEO

"Nike stands together against bigotry and any form of discrimination. Now more than ever, let’s stand up for our values and remain open and inclusive as a brand and as a company." 

- Read full statement here

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Brian Chesky, Airbnb founder

"Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right and we must stand with those who are affected.

"Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. Stayed tuned for more, contact me if urgent need for housing." - Twitter

REUTERS/Phil McCarten

Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola CEO

"Coca-Cola Co. is resolute in its commitment to diversity, fairness and inclusion, and we do not support this travel ban or any policy that is contrary to our core values and beliefs." -e-mailed statement

REUTERS/Ruben Sprich 

Brian Moynihan, Bank of America CEO

"As a global company, we depend upon the diverse sources of talent that our teammates represent.

"In view of this, we are closely monitoring the recent refugee- and immigration-related executive order in the United States, and subsequent developments." - Memo to employees

REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS HEADSHOT)

Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO

"Drivers who are citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen and live in the U.S. but have left the country, will not be able to return for 90 days. This means they won't be able to earn money and support their families during this period." - Facebook

REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia CEO

"I believe that with this Executive Order, our President has reverted to the short game. The U.S. may be ever so slightly less dangerous as a place to live, but it will certainly be seen as a smaller nation, one that is inward-looking versus forward thinking, reactionary versus visionary." - Memo to employees

2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS TRAVEL)

Jeff Immelt, General Electric CEO

"These employees and customers are critical to our success and they are our friends and partners." - Memo to employees

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Trip Advisor CEO Stephen Kaufer

"We need to do more, not less, to help refugees. Trumps action was wrong on humanitarian grounds, legal grounds, and won't make us 'safer.' " - Twitter

(Photo by Amy E. Price/Getty Images for SXSW)

Salesforce CEO Vala Afshar

Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO

"40% of Fortune 500 founded by immigrants or their children. All ethnicities should have access to opportunity -- founding principle of U.S." - Twitter

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff

"When we close our hearts & stop loving other people as ourselves (MK 12:31) we forget who we truly are---a light unto the nations. " - Twitter

(Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

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She said the cuts will force her to work with the U.N. secretary general "on the efficiencies that are needed in peacekeeping reform, which we spent a ton of money on." She also plans to make other nations step up to the plate.

"We need Russia to step up and pay more. We need to see other countries step up and pay more. We've carried the burden for a really long time," she said. "And it doesn't mean we're not going continue to pay our due. But at some point, other countries have to step in and start funding these missions, too."

Haley also was asked about the allegation Trump made in a tweet earlier this month that accused former President Obama of wiretapping his phones during the election campaign, and then failing to provide any evidence of the claim.

"I'm not going to comment on any of that," Haley said.

She went on to say, "He is our president, Matt. And so what he does, faults and all, he's our president. And so I want him to be successful. When these tweets come out, I mean, do I look at 'em and say, 'Okay, where did that come from?' Yes. But I don't pick up the phone and say what are you doing. I just know that's who he is."

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