Nikki Haley Faces Backlash as She Glosses Over Slavery

( – Nikki Haley, one of the Republican Party’s presidential hopefuls, is facing intense criticism for failing to attribute slavery as the cause behind the U.S. Civil War.

Responding to a question at a recent campaign stop at a New Hampshire town hall, Haley did not immediately cite the issue of slavery as the cause behind the Civil War, only saying that the conflict was about “was basically how government was going to run.” She added that it was also about “freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do.”

Republicans of color were the first to express disappointment in the presidential wannabe.

Rina Shah, a Republican strategist from Washington, D.C. said that the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and former South Carolina governor could have “communicated better in that moment.” Shah said that instead of acknowledging what many see as an exceedingly polarizing and painful moment in U.S. history, Haley resorted to the old political tactic of “tossing the same question back to the guy who asked,” Shah told news outlet Politico.

Shah added that Haley was likely “scared” of mentioning the word “slavery” as it might “alienate” her from wooing over voters who were leaning toward more hardline Republican presidential candidates like former president Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

While still leagues away from Trump, who remains the strong frontrunner in polls for the Republican presidential nomination, she has shaped up to be a strong contender and is second place among conservative voters from South Carolina and New Hampshire. Polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight puts Haley’s average support among Republican voters at a dead-tie with DeSantis at 11.3% as of January 1, 2024. Trump, however, continues to enjoy a commanding lead at 61.3%.

Shermichael Singleton, a black Republican who has worked on the campaigns of other prominent conservatives like Ben Carson and Mitt Romney, said the he believed that the questioner was a plant. However, he said that it was no excuse for Haley to seemingly gloss over the issue of slavery.

Also speaking to Politico, Singleton said that, “She (Haley) should’ve been able to answer the damn question and move on.”

For her part, Haley has quickly addressed the gaffe, saying that, “The first thing I should have said was slavery,” regarding the cause of the Civil War.

“Slavery (as the cause of the Civil War) is a given… That’s never been in question,” Haley said.

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