South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Tuesday used the official Republican response to President Obama’s final State of the Union address to indirectly chastise GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump by urging her party to ignore the “siren call of the angriest voices.”
While she did not call Trump out by name, she delivered a more inclusive message than what the business mogul is pitching on the campaign trail, where he has called for temporarily barring Muslims from the country and building a wall between the United States and Mexico.
“Today, we live in a time of threats like few others in recent memory,” said Haley, viewed as a potential vice presidential candidate, speaking from Columbia, her state’s capital. “During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation. No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.”
The message was perfectly pitched to the anxieties of GOP leaders who have been increasingly dismayed at the sight of a mean-spirited billionaire hijacking their party. Haley’s measured, hopeful tone seemed almost diametrically opposed to that of the daily Donald show. If a coma victim awoke today with no knowledge of America’s political landscape and then watched Haley’s address back to back with Trump’s latest stump speech, he would almost certainly not guess the two belonged to the same party.
For Republican elites — as well as moderate women, college-educated suburbanites, right-of-center Latinos, and a host of other swing-voting demographic groups who tend to find Trump repellant — the contrast drawn by Haley was probably an appealing one.
But of course, to The Donald’s most rabid supporters, Haley’s gentle criticism constituted something akin to a political war crime. The governor hadn’t even finished her eight-minute remarks Tuesday night before talk-radio provocateurs and other right-wing critics were trashing her on Twitter…
By taking on Trump in such a high-profile setting Tuesday, Haley signaled she isn’t afraid of a fight. And if the angry din of conservative critics continues to grow noisier in coming days, the governor will face plenty more 2016 auditions.
If Haley wants to endorse a GOP presidential candidate, hit the stump for that candidate, and rip into Donald Trump, no one is going to begrudge her that. But to use the State of the Union response to publicly attack her own frontrunner must be unprecedented, and certainly serves as more proof to Trump’s supporters that the Republican Establishment is much more interested in DC Media love than winning elections and advancing their legislative agenda.
The eyes of the entire country were on Haley Tuesday night, and rather than use that time to make a case against the Democrats, Haley squandered it by attacking the frontrunner, which is all anyone is talking about tonight.
Haley’s unconscionably selfish behavior reminds me of Chris Christie’s keynote address for Mitt Romney at the 2012 convention. Rather than make the case for Romney or against Obama, he used the opportunity to puff himself up…
For the good of the country, this suicidal Republican Establishment temple must come down and be ground into dust.
That was intended as a dig at Trump, but in fact it applies more accurately to the McConnell/Boehner/Ryan GOP, which offers noise as a substitute for results. In the 2010 and 2014 election cycles, they promised loudly to roll back government, reduce debt, repeal ObamaCare and reject unconstitutional executive amnesty …and then on the Wednesday morning after the Tuesday night before turned down the volume so thoroughly that all you can hear is the sound of Obama’s multi-trillion-dollar steamrollers rolling noisily all over them with nary a whimper.
Whether or not “noise” equates with “results”, the noise from the primary season suggests that about two-thirds of Republican voters want “outsider” candidates, however so defined. Those who want sotto voce moderation account for barely a fifth – and that’s if you include Jeb as one of those “quieter” voices, which is a bit of a stretch as he’s currently responsible for 100 per cent of the attack ads in my state (but don’t worry, he leaves it to a donor-funded SuperPac to get “angry” and “noisy” on his behalf)…
Trump is a monster of the GOP elite’s creation. And their solution to it is to use what’s meant to be a rebuttal to the President as a rebuttal to their own leading candidates and the two-thirds of their voters who support them. Truly this is the dumbest political party on the planet.
But through it all, election year anger is growing again. This explosion today on twitter against Nikki Haley as an establishment hack is bat crap crazy.
I stood on the steps of the South Carolina Capitol Building with Nikki Haley and Sarah Palin in 2010. I was there to introduce Governor Palin, who was endorsing Nikki Haley when no one else would. To this day, the very Republican Establishment you people are accusing her of sucking up to repeatedly spreads smears and lies about Nikki Haley that she sleeps around on her husband, is a terrible mother, and a pile of other crap because she keeps kicking their asses…
So you disagree agree with Nikki Haley about yelling, tone, and anger. It seems to me today she’s been proven right. You’re willing to declare her an establishment hack for giving a response to the State of the Union address saying what she has been saying for six years. Yes. Six years ago, when Sarah Palin and I were supporting her, she was talking about smiling instead of scowling and speaking instead of yelling. Six years ago, Nikki Haley was talking about wooing people to our side by showing a better way and with honey, not vinegar…
Feel free to disagree with Nikki Haley, but this descent into crazy town is unbecoming any of you. If you think Nikki Haley is not with you, then please start calling yourself a RINO, because it is you, not Nikki Haley, that is a Republican in name only.
On CNN Wednesday afternoon Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said Haley was furthering the agenda of the establishment wing of the GOP.
“I think she just continued to toe the line, and that’s what we’ve been hearing,” Pierson said. “We’ve been hearing that Donald Trump is just angry, but Nikki Haley needs to understand that Donald Trump is winning in her state. So apparently there are a lot of people in her state that are angry right now at the state of the nation and the situation around the world.
“Donald Trump has already said, you know, and Nikki Haley even said herself in July that Donald Trump was a supporter, so I think she’s just toeing the party line because rumor is she’s about to endorse Marco Rubio,” Pierson continued.
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley hit the “wrong note” in her response to President Obama’s State of the Union address.
After radio host Mike Gallagher took Haley’s speech to task for saying the Republican Party shouldn’t give in to the angriest voices on immigration, Fiorina responded, “Look I don’t speak for Nikki Haley and she doesn’t speak for me. I think you’re correct that it was the wrong note.”…
“Look, let’s be clear, the GOP has an establishment, a political class, just like the DNC has an establishment and a political class,” added Fiorina, the former NRSC vice chair and Senate candidate. “I’m running against it. I got out there and talk everyday to Americans that it is time to take our country back, and our country back, and our government back and our future back. And we’re not gonna do that by electing another politician.”
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee criticized South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for criticizing Donald Trump on Tuesday night…
“I’m not sure why she needed to do that, because it very well could be Donald Trump may be the Republican nominee,” Huckabee said. “And if he is then we need to unite behind him.”…
“You know, the RNC has been very forceful in saying, ‘We have to all line up and agree that we’re gonna support the nominee and not be third party candidates,’” he said. “Well, if we’re supposed to pledge loyalty to the RNC, then I have every expectation that the RNC had better pledge their support to whoever the nominee is.”
The establishment candidates were far more enthused.
Jeb Bush was perhaps the most effusive, tweeting: “Proud of my friend @nikkihaley for delivering a positive & uplifting response to Pres. Obama’s #SOTU. Clear vision for a brighter future.” He addressed the remarks again Wednesday morning on “Fox and Friends,” calling them “spectacular, to be honest with you.” “It’s difficult to do that, but embracing diversity, talking about conservative principles in an embracing way, hopeful, optimistic way, is the way to go,” he added.
On Tuesday night, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio spoke with Megyn Kelly, telling the Fox News host that Haley’s speech was “fantastic” and raved about her as “the perfect person to deliver the response.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told reporters in New Hampshire that Haley “did a phenomenal job,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “If she’s got concerns about tone, she’s going to express them, and I think that’s great.”
The South Carolina governor said she considers Trump a friend but noted that her other friends “don’t throw stones” over political disagreements, she told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.
“What I say about my other friends who are running for president, they don’t throw stones,” she said. “So what I would say to Mr. Trump is don’t take it personally. This is just something that we learned in South Carolina that I’m passing along. Take it if you want, take if you don’t but I think our country would be better if you take it.”…
Asked by Karl what makes Trump “one of the angriest voices,” Haley pointed to his call for a temporary ban on all Muslims coming to the US.
“The one that got me I think was when he started saying ban all Muslims,” she said. “When you’ve got immigrants that are coming here legally, we’ve never in the history of this country passed any laws or done anything based on race or religion. Let’s not start that now.”
Limbaugh shared his belief that the GOP selection of Haley to deliver the response is proof “that the Republican Party’s trying to drive conservatives out of the party.”