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Nikki Haley Receives Backlash After Word Salad on Civil War During Campaign Stop

Running for office sometimes requires navigating tricky questions without coming across as inauthentic.

At a town hall in New Hampshire on Wednesday, presidential hopeful Nikki Haley failed miserably.

When asked by an attendee what the cause of the Civil War was, Haley replied after an uncomfortable pause, “Well, don’t come with an easy question, right?”

She said the issue at stake in the Civil War was “how government was going to run” and “the freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do.”

“What do you think the cause of the Civil War was?” she asked the questioner, to which he smartly replied, “I’m not running for president,” pressing her again for her thoughts on the matter.


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“I mean, I think it always comes down to the role of government,” Haley repeated, “and what the rights of the people are.” She then transitioned into a word salad about freedom, capitalism, and as many other buzzwords as she could fit into one sentence.

At the end of Haley’s answer, the questioner responded, “In the year 2023, it’s astonishing to me that you answered that question without mentioning the word slavery.”

“What do you want me to say about slavery?” Haley asked.

“You’ve answered my question, thank you,” was the response.

As a former governor of South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union in 1860, Haley is obviously aware that slavery was the main catalyst of the Civil War.

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She likely wanted to avoid controversy after previously receiving backlash from some conservatives for signing a bill in 2015 to remove the Confederate flag from South Carolina State House grounds.

But running for president means being able to defend your decisions. Sidestepping a touchy question about American history comes across as an act of political expediency rather than conviction.

Conservative commentator Laura Loomer certainly thought so, calling Haley an “opportunist” who will “say or do anything to score political points.”


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Haley is currently in third place in the GOP primary race, with an uphill battle ahead of her for the nomination.

She is currently sitting at 11 percent support, behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 11.3 percent and former President Donald Trump at 62.5 percent, according to the Real Clear Polling aggregate.

The American public wants authenticity from its leaders. Haley’s reluctance to frankly discuss the Civil War only feeds perceptions that she is willing to sacrifice her principles, and even actual history, when politically convenient.

It’s not an image that will help her with the conservative voters who don’t want to see her as their next president.

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