Nikki Haley thinks it’s time for the Republican party to take a long look in the mirror. The South Carolina governor, 43, delivered the traditional GOP response to President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 12, to mixed reviews.
In her remarks, she directed some blame for the current state of our nation at her own party and at those she referred to as “the angriest voices.”
“We need to recognize our contributions to the erosion of the public trust in America’s leadership,” she said of Republicans. “We need to accept that we’ve played a role in how and why our government is broken, and then we need to fix it. … Today we live in a time of threats like few others in recent memory. During anxious times it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation. No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.”
Her comments sparked some backlash from conservatives like Ann Coulter, who tweeted, “Trump should deport Nikki Haley.” But Haley stands by her words.
“I respect all of those people and understand their opinion, but I disagree,” she said on the Today show on Wednesday, January 13. “I think that a lot of what we’re trying to do is say those angriest voices are not helpful. If we have citizens who are law-abiding, who love our traditions, who do everything to be productive citizens in America, they should be welcome in this country.”
Haley went on to clarify that she does not support illegal immigration, but noted that Republicans and Democrats should be “more inclusive” and understand that America is a country of immigrants.
When Today cohost Matt Lauer asked point-blank if Haley was talking about GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump when she mentioned the “angriest voices,” she replied, “He was one of them. There’s other people in the media. There’s people in my state. I think we’re seeing it across the country, but yes, Mr. Trump has definitely contributed to what I think is just irresponsible talk.”
Lauer also noted that Haley’s words had earned her praise from many others in her party, including Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan. Lauer also noted that her speech has made her a front-runner for a potential vice presidential bid, should she want one. Haley wouldn’t comment on her interest, but she did say, “If a candidate wanted to sit down and talk, I would sit down and talk.”
As for Trump, 69, the billionaire didn’t publicly react to Haley’s speech. He did, however, diss President Obama, tweeting, “The State Of The Union speech was one of the most boring, rambling and non-substantive I have heard in a long time. New leadership fast!”
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