Nikki Haley Lauds Trump's Coarse Rhetoric in RNC Speech After Previously Criticizing Him for It
Haley, 48, is the former governor of South Carolina and served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from January 2017 through the end of December 2018.
Her remarks Monday night were made from Washington, D.C., during the remote Republican National Convention, which is taking place without crowds this week due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Much of Haley's speech was a warning-filled hypothesis of what Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's presidency could look like. She championed Trump's disdain for "cancel culture" — even as he has called for boycotts of various businesses — and aligned herself with a number of his policies and beliefs.
Haley invoked her own Indian-American ancestry while arguing that the country as a whole is "not racist," in clear reference to ongoing protests against racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd in police custody in late May.
“This is personal for me,” Haley said, adding, “My father wore a turban. My mother wore a sari. I was a brown girl in a Black and white world. We faced discrimination and hardship, but my parents never gave into grievance and hate.”
"In much of the Democratic Party, it's now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie," she said. "America is not a racist country."
Haley, who was born to two Indian-American immigrants, graduated from Clemson University with a degree in accounting and briefly worked in finances before entering government.
She was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2004 and served as the state's governor from 2011 to 2017, when she was appointed to her role in the Trump administration.
Given her pedigree, and how she handled the response to the mass shooting in a black church in Charleston in 2015, she is seen as a top contender for the presidency once Trump leaves office.
Haley's December 2018 resignation reportedly caught most off-guard — including White House staff — but President Trump appeared supportive of her decision, according to Fox News.
"Hopefully you'll be coming back at some point, maybe in another capacity," Trump told Haley after she resigned. "You can have your pick."
After leaving her post as U.N. ambassador, Haley went on to serve on the board of directors for airline giant Boeing before she resigned from the lucrative position in March because of her disagreements over airline bailouts amid the pandemic, according to NPR.
In her time outside of politics, Haley authored a memoir about working in the Trump administration. Unlike others who have left the Trump administration only to write scathing accounts of their time in his White House, Haley only provided "glancing" critiques of the controversial president, according to The Washington Post.
Haley did, however, write about having private objections to Trump's 2018 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his lack of condemnation for a 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in a counter-protestor's death.
“A leader’s words matter in these situations. And the president’s words had been hurtful and dangerous,” Haley wrote in her book. “I picked up the phone and called the president.”
Elsewhere, she has sometimes pushed back on his infamously provocative and pugilistic social media style.
"This is so unnecessary," she tweeted back at Trump last year after he posted about a political opponent's home being burgled.
On Monday, she celebrated Trump's rhetoric, saying that he “tells the world what it needs to hear" and said, “he knows that political correctness and cancel culture are dangerous and just plain wrong."