CAN IT BE DONE?
|| By WILL FOLKS || The news that U.S. president-elect Donald Trump was considering South Carolina governor Nikki Haley for a top post in his cabinet spread like wildfire across the Palmetto State this week.
Hold up … perhaps that’s not the best analogy to use right now.
Anyway, not only did this seismic development seemingly come out of nowhere … it could wind up having far-reaching consequences for the state.
Given my own, ahem, “history” with Haley I’ve received a lot of incoming about Trump’s decision to consider her for a leadership post in his administration.
Most people I’ve talked to have expressed shock that Trump would consider Haley for any position – let alone a post as influential as secretary of state (arguably the most coveted position in the presidential cabinet). After all, Haley made destroying Trump her mission during the 2016 GOP presidential primary – and she continued to attack him even after it was clear he had won the Republican nomination. When Trump’s general election campaign against Hillary Clinton began, Haley basically stayed on the sidelines (well, when she wasn’t tweeting out Clinton’s campaign theme music).
Some in Washington believe the “Trikki Nikki” speculation is bunk – particularly as it relates to the State Department job.
“I don’t believe she’s getting a significant appointment. Especially not State,” one veteran Washington, D.C. operative told me this week. “Commerce? Maybe. It’s a pretty useless position so it fits her. I imagine Trump will be his own Commerce Secretary cutting business deals, opening new factories etc. Simply appointing an Indian to the position of Secretary of State would be a major diplomatic move with all kinds of downsides. I’m not sure the Pakistanis would even deal with her. Make her Ambassador to India and ship her ass off to Delhi for a couple of years. It’s a plum diplomatic post.”
Meanwhile back in South Carolina, connected insiders suspect Trump is only considering Haley for a position because it would clear a path to the governor’s office for Henry McMaster – one of the few insiders who backed his candidacy prior to the pivotal “First in the South” presidential primary back in February.
“Henry McMaster is trying to orchestrate getting Haley appointed to something – anything – so he can be governor,” one ranking S.C. Republican Party official told me late Wednesday. “He would push her into traffic if necessary.”
My thoughts on all this? Honestly, for the first time in a long time … I’m at a loss.
As for Trump meeting with (and in one case appointing) some of the same establishment Republicans who tried to scuttle his candidacy, I get that.
Those of us who supported his candidacy all along (here and here) may not like it all that much, but speaking for myself I recognize that the man now has a country to govern and it’s probably impossible to do that with both major political parties (and the media, Wall Street, etc.) at his throat.
Ultimately, it’s Trump’s administration – and he will be judged by his policies and the outcomes they produce (at least that’s how this website will judge him).
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If Trump wants to hire Haley to do a job for him (for whatever reason), that’s his call. He’s ultimately responsible for making good on the promises he campaigned on – and more importantly he’s responsible for realizing the hope for a better country his promises engendered.
If Trump honestly believes Haley can help him achieve those promises and fulfill those hopes, then I support him in his decision to hire her. Bottom line: Whatever post Haley (or any other politician) is elected or appointed to, this website will continue to judge them based on the outcomes they produce. Of course as this website has meticulously documented over the course of the last six years, Haley has repeatedly produced abysmal economic outcomes for South Carolina despite presiding over massive increases in the size and scope of state government.
Anyway, that’s neither here nor there …
Now, as for the potential vetting of Haley for a cabinet post by members of the U.S. Senate, it seems silly to speculate on such hypothetical deliberations prior to an announcement being made by Trump.
So I won’t do that …
I’ll simply say this: I don’t think the fact Haley had affairs during her tenure as a state lawmaker from 2005-2011 has any bearing on her fitness to serve in Washington, D.C. Hell, I endorsed her in 2010 despite the fact that I knew she was lying about at least one of those affairs.
Frankly, there are far more troubling things in Haley’s background (and her gubernatorial record) than extramarital dalliances – many of which this website has delved into in the past.
So in the unlikely event anyone still cares about the brief affair I had with Haley nine-and-a-half years ago, all I can say is that I stand by every word of the sworn affidavit I signed in October 2010 related to this matter – and every word of subsequent sworn statements made during a September 2015 deposition held in connection with another case.
If asked again under oath, I would once again answer truthfully.
Finally, I would certainly comply with any discovery requests made by those in Washington, D.C. who might be called upon to vet Haley – including the production of all electronic devices in my possession during the period in question.
I don’t prefer to receive such a request – nor do I suspect I will ever receive one – but I didn’t want there to be any ambiguity as to my position in the event I am dragged into the potential vetting of Nikki Haley for a national-level appointment.
Will Folks is the founding editor of the website you are currently reading.
(Banner via Travis Bell Photography)