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Nikki Haley (born Nimrata Randhawa) (1972–) is the former governor of South Carolina, former Ambassador to the United Nations under President Donald Trump, and a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024. A member of the Republican Party, she was ushered into the governor's
doublewide mansion in 2010 as a Tea Party darling to replace family values promoter (and "Naked Hiking Day" enthusiast) Mark Sanford and won re-election in 2014. (It has been a while since the South was blue.)
Response to Emanuel A.M.E. Church shooting
Possibly due to significant pressure from reasonable people across the United States, Haley called for the removal of the Confederate flag — more accurately, the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia — from the state's capitol grounds in Columbia. Haley called the flag a symbol of racism in the wake of the June 2015 Emanuel A.M.E. Church massacre in Charleston, where nine parishioners were killed by a white supremacist. While the state legislature debated, North Carolina activist Bree Newsome climbed the pole where the flag was flying on the lawn in front of the South Carolina Statehouse and took it down. On July 9th, 2015, a two-thirds majority of state legislators voted for the flag to be removed from the state house grounds permanently and placed on display in a museum.
Confederate flag at the state capitol
In Haley's retelling of history, she was the governor who removed Confederate symbolism from the state capitol. She falsely claimed that she had not done it sooner because even Democrats, including African Americans, had pushed back against its removal. The reality was that going back to at least 2010, she was pandering to white nationalists ("“I will work to talk to them about the heritage and how this is not something that is racist."), essentially claiming that she shared their worldview. The reality of getting elected to statewide office in South Carolina is that one has to either be a white nationalist or at least pander to white nationalists. After Haley was elected governor in 2011, she continued to meet with and assure neo-Confederate groups that the flag would not be moved or removed, going so far as claiming that simply because she was elected governor the damage to South Carolina economy from the ongoing NAACP boycott had been repaired ("We really kind of fixed all that when you elected the first Indian-American female governor.") Even after a neo-Confederate murdered nine African Americans in a Charleston church, Haley did not take the lead in calling for the removal of the flag; that leadership was within the state legislature.
Support for hate groups
During Haley's run for president in 2023, she said in an interview on Fox News, "If @Moms4Liberty is a 'hate group,' add me to the list." While not specifically designated as a hate group at the time by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the SPLC did characterize Moms for Liberty as an extremist group that opposes LGBTQ+ and racially inclusive school curricula, that supports book bans, and that has ties to hate groups.
- The Pointless Nikki Haley Campaign – The Atlantic, February 2023
- Sanford disappears to hike Appalachian Trail (on Naked Hiking Day) by Jimmy Orr (June 23, 2009 ) The Christian Science Monitor.
- Nikki Haley calls for removal of Confederate flag from capitol grounds
- Woman takes down Confederate flag in front of South Carolina statehouse
- Gov. Nikki Haley signs bill to remove Confederate flag
- With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace by Nikki Haley (2019) St. Martin's Press. ISBN 1250266556.
- Nikki Haley let the Confederate flag fly until a massacre forced her hand: She told Confederate groups that flag was about “heritage,” and her campaign said efforts to remove it from the State House grounds were “desperate and irresponsible” by Michael Kranish (May 27, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
- Missing part of Haley Interview discussing the Confederate Flag. (Jun 17, 2010) YouTube.
- The Mainstreaming of Nikki Haley: Elected as an outsider, she has become the face of the GOP establishment. by Jeremy Markovich (February 20, 2016) Politico.
- If @Moms4Liberty is a “hate group,” add me to the list. by Nikki Haley (12:50 AM · Jun 8, 2023) Twitter (archived from June 8, 2023).
- Moms for Liberty Southern Poverty Law Center.