Nikki Haley accused ‘the liberal media’ of wanting to ‘stoke a nonstop Republican civil war’ by requiring that ‘everyone pick sides about Donald Trump’ as part of a ‘strategy to pit conservatives against one another.’
Haley made the accusations in an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal just days after she gave an interview to Politico in which she criticized Trump, saying he ‘let us down’ and that he ‘went down a path he shouldn’t have.’
The comments were the latest sign that Haley is positioning herself to make a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.
But her political fortunes could rest on her ability to navigate a delicate tightrope given that Trump remains by far the most popular Republican while a majority of the American electorate views him as unelectable.
Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the United Nations under then-President Donald Trump, accused the ‘liberal media’ of seeking to ‘stoke nonstop civil war’ in the Republican Party. Haley is seen above in Cumming, Georgia on December 20
Haley, the former governor of South Carolina who served in the Trump administration as the American ambassador to the United Nations, accused the press of fomenting strife within the Republican Party.
‘The media playbook starts with the demand that everyone pick sides about Donald Trump – either love or hate everything about him,’ she wrote in the Journal on Wednesday.
‘The moment anyone on the right offers the slightest criticism of the 45th president, the media goes berserk: Republicans are trying to have it both ways!’
‘It’s a calculated strategy to pit conservatives against one another,’ Haley wrote.
‘It’s also a ridiculous false choice. Real life is never that simple. Someone can do both good and bad things.’
Haley said that while Trump deserves credit for his achievements including the coronavirus vaccine and his foreign policy accomplishments in the Middle East, he also deserves criticism for the events of January 6.
Haley has criticized Trump (seen above in Valdosta, Georgia on December 5) for trying to overturn the election, though she credits his policies with making American ‘prosperous’
Hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol on that day in an effort to prevent Congress from confirming President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Five people were killed in the rioting, including a police officer.
Trump, who addressed the mob and urged them to ‘fight’ in order to overturn the results of the election, was impeached by the House of Representatives, whose Democratic majority accused him of incitement to insurrection.
He became the only president in history to have been impeached twice.
Last week, Trump was acquitted by the Senate, though seven Republicans voted to convict.
Haley has taken pains to strike a balance between criticizing Trump for his actions on January 6 and praising his record.
‘Many of his actions since the election were wrong and will be judged harshly by history,’ Haley wrote.
Nonetheless, she praised her former boss, writing: ‘Most of Mr. Trump’s major policies were outstanding and made America stronger, safer and more prosperous.’
Haley acknowledged that Trump’s lawyers ‘failed to prove mass election fraud in court’ though she added that ‘election security is still urgently needed.’
While she credits Trump for having ‘brought millions of new voters into the Republican Party,’ the GOP ‘also lost millions of voters.’
Haley added: ‘I will gladly defend the bulk of the Trump record and his determination to shake up the corrupt status quo in Washington.
‘I will never defend the indefensible. I didn’t do that when I served alongside President Trump, and I’m not going to start now.’
Last week, Haley told Politico that Trump ‘let us down’ and that he ‘went down a path he shouldn’t have’ – a reference to the former president’s actions in the weeks and days leading up to the MAGA riot at the United States Capitol on January 6 (above)
In her remarks to Politico, Haley tried to simultaneously condemn the former president while also make a bid for his supporters – a group of 74 million that voted to give him a second term in the White House and will be a strong force in future Republican primaries.
Haley predicted that the Republican Party is not ‘going to go back to the way it was before Donald Trump. I don’t think it should.
‘I think what we need to do is take the good that he built, leave the bad that he did, and get back to a place where we can be a good, valuable, effective party.
‘But at the same time, it’s bigger than the party. I hope our country can come together and figure out how we pull this back,’ she said.
Haley is one of several Republicans considering a presidential bid in 2024, including former Vice President Mike Pence.
Asked if she could do the job of president, Haley said: ‘Yeah, of course I do.’
Trump, if acquitted, would be able to make another White House bid but Haley expressed confidence that would not happen.
‘He’s not going to run for federal office again,’ she said.
‘I don’t think he’s going to be in the picture,’ she noted. ‘I don’t think he can. He’s fallen so far.’
Haley told Politico she hasn’t spoken to Trump since the January 6 riot and, like other Republicans, she expressed disgust at his treatment of Pence, his longtime loyal vice president whom he pressured to illegally overturn the election.
Trump tweeted criticism of Pence as the then-vice president was whisked away by Secret Service agents to a secure location while some of the MAGA rioters were chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence.’
The then-president also never bothered to call Pence to see how he was doing or to check up on his condition.
‘When I tell you I’m angry, it’s an understatement,’ Haley said of Trump’s behavior toward Pence.
Haley expressed disgust at Trump’s treatment of Mike Pence (seen above on January 20 in Washington, DC), his longtime loyal vice president whom he pressured to illegally overturn the election
‘Mike has been nothing but loyal to that man. He’s been nothing but a good friend of that man. … I am so disappointed in the fact that [despite] the loyalty and friendship he had with Mike Pence, that he would do that to him. Like, I’m disgusted by it.’
She called the impeachment trial, where Trump is expected to be acquitted, a ‘waste of time.’
She said Trump would be punished by being isolated from the Republican Party and see his business interests suffer.
‘I think he’s going to find himself further and further isolated,’ Haley said. ‘I think his business is suffering at this point. I think he’s lost any sort of political viability he was going to have. I think he’s lost his social media, which meant the world to him. I mean, I think he’s lost the things that really could have kept him moving.’
She also said she initially thought it was fine to let Trump make his court challenges to the election, saying he had a legal right to pursue.
‘Since the election—’ she said, ‘I mean, I’m deeply disturbed by what’s happened to him.’
She went on to say: ‘Never did I think he would spiral out like this. … I don’t feel like I know who he is anymore. … The person that I worked with is not the person that I have watched since the election.’