🚨 Nikki Haley on the Civil War: “What Do You Want Me to Say About Slavery? Next Question.”

In response to Nikki Haley claiming the Civil War was about government interfering in people’s freedoms rather than slavery, DNC Chair Jaime Harrison released the following statement: 

“I am disgusted but I’m not surprised – this is what Black South Carolinians have come to expect from Nikki Haley, and now the rest of the country is getting to see her for who she is. This isn’t hard: condemning slavery is the baseline for anyone who wants to be president of the United States, but Nikki Haley and the rest of the MAGA GOP are choking on their words trying to rewrite history. Nikki Haley’s comments tonight were a slap in the face to Black voters, who she has turned her back on time and again – from championing the Confederate flag to trivializing Black History Month – and they’ll turn their backs on her at the polls.”

A voter just asked Nikki Haley to explain what the cause of the Civil War was — and she not only refused to mention slavery, she immediately asked to move on. 

Voter: “What was the cause of the United States Civil War?” 

Haley: “Don’t come with an easy question, right? I mean, I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was gonna run —the freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do. What do you think the cause of the Civil War was?”

Voter: “I’m not running for president.” 

Haley: “I mean, I think it always comes down to the role of government. We need to have capitalism, we need to have economic freedom. We need to make sure that we do all things so that individuals have the liberties so that they can have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to do or be anything they want to be without government getting in the way.” 

Voter: “In the year 2023, it’s astonishing to me that you can answer that question without mentioning the word ‘slavery.’” 

Haley: “What do you want me to say about slavery? Next question.”

This is only the latest in Haley’s shameful record of denying and whitewashing our nation’s history and the horrific legacy of slavery: during an interview with a Confederate group, Haley argued that the Civil War was simply fought on the basis of “tradition versus change,” and she even claimed that nobody did anything “out of hate.”

Interviewer: “What’s your belief about the reason the Civil War was fought?”

Haley: “I mean again I think that as we look in government, as we watch government, you have different sides, and I think that you see passions on different sides, and I don’t think anyone does anything out of hate. I think what they do, is they do things out of tradition and out of beliefs and what they believe is right. I think you had one side of the Civil War that was fighting for tradition, and I think you had another side of the Civil War that was fighting for change. You know at the end of the day, what I think we need to remember is um that you know, everyone is supposed to have their rights, everyone’s supposed to be free, everyone’s supposed to have the same um freedoms as anyone else. So, you know I think it was tradition versus change is the way I see it.”

Haley has continually defended the Confederacy, calling it “not something that is racist,” and supported Confederate History Month, even comparing it to Black History Month. 

Haley: “You know for those groups that come in and say they have issues with the Confederate flag, I will work to talk to them about it. I will work and talk to them about the heritage and how this is not something that is racist. This is something that is a tradition that people feel proud of and let them know that we want their business in this state and that the flag where it is was a compromise of all people, that everybody should accept as part of South Carolina.” 

CNN: Haley also said she supported South Carolina’s “Confederate History Month” during the interview, comparing it to Black History Month.

Haley: “Yes, it’s part of a traditional – you know, it’s part of tradition. And so, when you look at that, if you have the same as you have Black History Month and you have Confederate History Month and all of those. As long as it’s done where it is in a positive way and not in a negative way, and it doesn’t go to harm anyone, and it goes back to where it focuses on the traditions of the people that are wanting to celebrate it, then I think it’s fine.” 

Haley also defended the right to secession and while she took credit for taking down the Confederate flag in South Carolina, she later backtracked and called it an emblem of  “service, and sacrifice, and heritage” while serving in the Trump administration.  

CNN: “Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley defended states’ rights to secede from the United States, South Carolina’s Confederate History Month and the Confederate flag in a 2010 interview with a local activist group that ‘fights attacks against Southern Culture.’”

“Haley, who was running for South Carolina governor at the time, made the comments during an interview with the now defunct ‘The Palmetto Patriots,’ a group which included a one-time board member of a White nationalist organization.”

CNN: “One of [Haley’s] interviewers was Robert Slimp, a pastor and member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and one-time board member and active member of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a White nationalist group. The CCC is a self-described White-rights group that opposes non-White immigration and advocates a White nationalist ideology. The group reportedly inspired Charleston shooter Dylann Roof, the White nationalist who killed nine people at a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.” 
New York Magazine: “Years after basking in national plaudits for her action on the the flag, Haley backtracked while serving in the Trump administration, saying the Confederate flag was seen as an emblem of ‘service, and sacrifice, and heritage’ before it was ‘hijacked’ by the Charleston murderer Dylann Roof.”