Republican former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was once considered a moderate, but her eventual full-throated support for former President Donald Trump has led Democrats across the nation to consider her one of Trumpism's most prominent enablers.
Despite campaigning for his opponents in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, Haley was appointed to serve as Trump's ambassador to the United Nations in 2017. Even after she left the position during his term, she continued to defend him and further embrace the growing belligerence and misinformation from the Republican party under Trump.
After Trump's blatant lies about the integrity of the 2020 election motivated a mob of his supporters to lay deadly siege upon the United States Capitol in a failed insurrection attempt last month, Haley admitted that Trump would likely be "judged harshly by history."
But just two weeks later, Haley was once again defending Trump, conceding that the Capitol riots were "not great" but still urging his critics to "give the man a break" and "move on" instead of proceeding with his Senate impeachment trial.
Now, a new Politico profile from Tim Alberta examines the political landscape Haley faces ahead of the 2024 election—in which she's a favorite to win the Republican nomination.
It features the former Governor's most unequivocal break with Trump yet.
Haley said to Alberta:
"We need to acknowledge he let us down. He went down a path he shouldn't have, and we shouldn't have followed him, and we shouldn't have listened to him. And we can't let that ever happen again."
"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."
She admitted to Alberta that she didn't think Trump was "dangerous" when she dismissed warnings of the threat his normalization of lies and violence posed, but that she still thinks Trump cared about the country.
Given Haley's constant failed attempts to simultaneously embody Trumpism and moderation, Trump's critics weren't at all convinced of her latest mea culpa.
Our survival as a democracy depends on us understanding that Trump's enablers & other "moderate" Republicans were &… https://t.co/Kec6U7TL8x— Anjali Enjeti (@Anjali Enjeti)1613141100.0
Nikki Haley as object lesson: too little, too late. #sorrynotsorry— Jamie Schler (@Jamie Schler)1613140357.0
Please. @NikkiHaley is what I call (in my taxonomy of complicity) an Amoeba. Lacking any real character or convicti… https://t.co/VY4zdRui98— Asha Rangappa (@Asha Rangappa)1613141212.0
Leaning into the idea that Nikki Haley’s contrition is real or authentic is actually very bad. We all swore we woul… https://t.co/M8Vts3arjW— Maybe: Camonghne Felix (@Maybe: Camonghne Felix)1613141628.0
Nikki Haley today on Trump's election challenge: "At the time, I didn’t think that was dangerous. I didn’t think t… https://t.co/elX9Ttcwqf— Aaron Blake (@Aaron Blake)1613137491.0
Some saw Haley's words as a further indictment of her attempts to play both sides of the conservative coin.
It's always fun to read a profile with lots of good stuff about naked political ambition. The SC years section is t… https://t.co/hMEqwJwQF0— Clare Malone (@Clare Malone)1613141106.0
One could argue that Nikki Haley’s logic mirrors the worst of political journalism — the pretend ignorance, the ref… https://t.co/LThw6KMxOQ— Hamza Shaban (@Hamza Shaban)1613141054.0
Nikki Haley has proven she will tell you anything she thinks you want to hear to get elected. She was was supportiv… https://t.co/mjFlSeT7Bs— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈)1613138257.0
In my view, people like Nikki Haley are much worse than former President Trump. She knew who he was and still enab… https://t.co/BJyl7nKBpl— Matthew Dowd (@Matthew Dowd)1613137525.0
It won't be for another three years til the public sees whether or not Haley's motivations—be they ambivalence or ambition—are enough to secure the Republican nomination in the post-Trump era.