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Nikki Haley Sells Out The Republican Voter

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  • In her rebuttal to the State of the Union, Republican Governer Nikki Haley had harsh words for Donald Trump.
  • On Wednesday morning, she admitted her “angriest voices” line was a jab at Trump.
  • Demoncrats were quick to support her in hopes spurring a divide in the republican party.
  • Republicans were divided on the issue with some saying she might be a hopeful VP nomination. 

Rebuttals to State of the Union addresses are usually directed at the president from a rising member of the opposing party. But Gov. Nikki Haley, the Republican of South Carolina, had a different target in mind on Tuesday night: Donald J. Trump.

Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference,” Ms. Haley said. “That is just not true. Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume.”

Ms. Haley acknowledged on Wednesday morning that she was referring to Mr. Trump when she warned Americans not to follow the angriest voices in politics. “Mr. Trump has definitely contributed to what I think is just irresponsible talk,” she told the “Today” show on NBC.

See RelatedState Of The Union Takes A Scary Turn Into Socialism

The remarks drew praise from many Republicans and Democrats and even some talk that Ms. Haley, the daughter of immigrants from India, would be a strong pick as a vice-presidential candidate. Ms. Haley said during the NBC interview that she hadn’t thought about any of the vice-presidential rumors, but added: “If a candidate wanted to sit down and talk, I would sit down and talk. That’s a big decision.”

Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster, noted that Democrats liked the idea that a leading Republican was blaming her own party for the hostile tone of politics.

Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, also expressed approval for Ms. Haley at a breakfast in Washington on Wednesday.

“I have a lot of admiration for the governor,” Mr. McDonough said, adding that some of her work over the last year has been “remarkable,” including her response to the church shooting in Charleston, S.C., and “her very brave and admirable role” in the flap that ensued over displaying the Confederate flag in her state.

Mr. McDonough said he disagrees with many of the decisions that she has made as governor, most prominently her refusal to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act.

By no means am I trying to endorse everything that she’s doing, but I do think that a lot of this, including parts of the speech last night, were admirable,” he said.

The reviews were more mixed among Republicans, highlighting the divide within a party whose support is split between hard-line candidates such as Mr. Trump and Senator Ted Cruz and more moderate figures such as Jeb Bush.

Describing her speech as “remarkable,” Mr. Bush said on Wednesday: “I think she talked about a more broader hopeful, optimistic Republican message, a conservative message that draws people, the great diversity of our country, toward our cause.”

Senator Marco Rubio also said he was “impressed” with Ms. Haley and, in a moment of self-deprecation, praised her for making it through the remarks without taking a sip of water. Mr. Rubio’s 2013 rebuttal was most notable for his awkward swig.

Carly Fiorina was less impressed, arguing that Americans have a right to be angry about issues such as illegal immigration.

“Look, I don’t speak for Nikki Haley and she doesn’t speak for me,” Ms. Fiorina said on Mike Gallagher’s radio program. “I think you’re correct that it was the wrong note.”

Mr. Trump also made clear that he did not agree with Ms. Haley on Wednesday, calling her “weak” on immigration in an interview on “Fox & Friends” and noting that she has asked him for campaign contributions in the past.

“I feel very strong about illegal immigration, she doesn’t,” Mr. Trump said.

Julie Hirschfeld Davis contributed reporting.

By Alan Rappeport, NYTimes

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  • Earl Standing says:

    I think she needs to look around the country a little closer to see what kind of bad shape we are in. And politicians got us here. Put Mr. Trump in the White House and get our country back to great again

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