Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley seems to have put her foot in her mouth–again. This time she claims the United States has “never been a racist country.” During an interview on Fox News, Haley, the daughter of immigrants from India, responded to MSNBC host Joy Reid’s comments about her potential challenges as a woman of color in the GOP, Haley emphasized her rise from the daughter of immigrants to becoming the first female minority governor in history and later the ambassador to the United Nations. She has faced criticism in the past for her remarks not recognizing the Civil War was about slavery.
Haley suggested Reid “lives in a different America than I do,” pointing to her own rise from the daughter of immigrants to governor of South Carolina and ambassador to the United Nations, CNN reported.
In the interview on “Fox & Friends,” co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Haley about the perception of the GOP as a “racist party.” Dismissing the notion, Haley boldly stated,
“We’re not a racist country, Brian. We’ve never been a racist country,” she said. “Our goal is to make sure that today is better than yesterday. Are we perfect? No. But our goal is to always make sure we try and be more perfect every day that we can.”
The former South Carolina governor continued, “I know I faced racism when I was growing up. But I can tell you, today is a lot better than it was then. Our goal is to lift up everybody. Not go and divide people on race or gender or party or anything else. We’ve had enough of that in America.”
Drawing from her personal experiences as “a brown girl that grew up in a small rural town in South Carolina,” Haley acknowledged facing racism but highlighted the progress made since then. She added, “I don’t want my kids growing up where they’re sitting there thinking that they’re disadvantaged because of a color or a gender. I want them to know that if they work hard, they can do and be anything they want to be in America.”
Haley’s comments come in the wake of her third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, where she defended the result as a “strong showing.” The discussion on racism arose following a clip from an MSNBC host questioning Haley’s chances in a party perceived as “deeply anti-immigrant.”
Addressing concerns about her previous omission of slavery when asked about the Civil War, Haley clarified her stance, stating, “Of course, the Civil War was about slavery,” after facing criticism for the initial oversight, The Hill reported.
Nikki Haley on Oct. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)