This week, former South Carolina governor and outgoing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley took her first big steps on the national stage since announcing her impending departure from the administration of Donald Trump.
They were not good ones …
Haley chose to opine – ill-advisedly – on the political fallout from Saturday’s murderous antisemitic rampage at a Pittsburgh synagogue. She specifically conveyed her thoughts via a tweet invoking South Carolina’s response to a racially motivated slaughter that occurred three years ago while she was governor.
The June 2015 shooting at the Mother Emanuel church in Charleston, S.C. was one of the deadliest racially motivated mass murders in American history. It was also the event which propelled Haley onto the national stage – even if the background narrative which precipitated her ascent was conveniently glossed over by the national media.
Anyway … in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh shooting Haley noted that South Carolinians “didn’t once blame” former president Barack Obama for what transpired three years ago in Charleston, even though “the country was very racially divided” at that time.
“We focused solely on the lives lost and their families,” Haley added.
That’s a nice sentiment. And it isn’t entirely inaccurate. South Carolina did come together following that tragedy … up to a point.
The only problem? A year after the shooting, Haley did engage in the political blame game – against Trump.
In an interview with The Associated Press calling on Trump to tone down his “divisive” rhetoric on the campaign trail, Haley made the exact point she is now telling others not to make.
“I know what that rhetoric can do,” Haley said, referring to the Charleston shooting. “I saw it happen.”
Yeah … she went there.
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Haley was still firmly in the #NeverTrump universe at the time – even though Trump had already captured the GOP presidential nomination.
We immediately condemned her comments as “dangerous,” arguing against her implication that “anyone who opposed open borders or crony capitalist trade deals is one step away from becoming a racist mass murder.”
“Haley’s remark isn’t just an over-the-top attempt to demonize a political opponent … it is yet another effort to demonize dissent,” we wrote. “That’s the real danger here … not the political points Haley is hoping to score against Trump, but the muzzling of those looking to have their voices heard.”
Haley’s hypocrisy in response to the Pittsburgh shooting was so self-evident even the mainstream media in her home state – which lives to serve her – took notice.
Wow. That is the closest thing to a harsh word you will ever hear the increasingly left-leaning Post and Courier – or any other South Carolina mainstream media outlet – offer up when it comes to Haley.
Our view? We have been far more objective than usual lately when it comes to the former governor, whose presidential ambitions are front and center following this month’s surprise announcement that she was leaving Trump administration. When we believe she is right, we say so. Same when we believe she is wrong. When her national star has waxed, we took note and gave credit. And when it has waned, we have objectively chronicled that as well.
And when we believe she is being unfairly criticized, we have said so.
Despite our founding editor’s well-known personal history with Haley, our job is to call it like we see it … no matter who, no matter what.
But the fact remains Haley has built her career on a conveniently malleable standard of truth, and in this particular case that underlying inconsistency caught up with her.
We wonder how many times it will catch up with her moving forward …
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