In the latest edition of our Palmetto Political Stock Index, former South Carolina governor (and 2024 presidential candidate) Nikki Haley got some grief for remaining silent in the face of questions about a civil judgment against former president Donald Trump. That judgment stemmed from a rape claim made against Trump by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll.
In 2019, Carroll accused Trump of raping her inside a dressing room at the luxury Bergdorf Goodman department store in downtown New York City in the mid-1990s. A jury found Trump civilly liable in the case (for battery and defamation, anyway), and ordered him to pay Carroll $5 million.
Questioned about the incident last week, Haley took a pass.
“I’m not going to get into that,” she told reporters.
This week? She’s getting into it …
“I want to ask you, as a conservative woman, do you think it undermines your party if the Republican frontrunner is someone who was just found liable, legally liable, for sexually abusing a woman?” Brennan asked Haley.
“I have always said that anyone that feels like they have been sexually assaulted in any way should come forward and have their voice heard,” Haley responded. “I also think anyone that’s been accused should be able to defend themselves. I was not on the jury. I am not the judge. I think that both of them had their voices heard. There has been a verdict, and there’s been an appeal.”
“Are you drawing into question the legal findings?” Brennan asked Haley.
“No,” Haley replied. “I said there’s a verdict, and I think there’s been an appeal. I think it stands where it stands, and I think the American people need to make a decision based on that.”
Here is the exchange …
(Click to view)
Haley is getting all sorts of grief from the far left in the aftermath of this interview – with some accusing her of “defending a rapist” or being a “coward” for not calling Trump out.
Really? Last time I checked, the jury in this case concluded Trump did not rape Carroll. And on the grounds upon which they did find in Carroll’s favor – battery and defamation – as Haley noted, Trump has filed an appeal.
What, exactly, is she supposed to say?
Now … would Haley’s answer have been different if she and Trump weren’t currently playing political footsie as part of an increasingly transparent under-the-table alliance? One in which Haley’s job is to splinter the anti-Trump GOP electorate and bait his main rival, Florida governor Ron DeSantis? Presumably in exchange for Trump putting her on his 2024 ticket?
But that’s just Haley being Haley …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ...
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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