Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley sat down with the influential hip hop morning show The Breakfast Club for an interview that aired on Wednesday — her longest conversation yet on race.
Co-host Charlamagne tha God specifically questioned the former U.N. Ambassador about former President Donald Trump purposefully butchering her given first name Nimarata, which many viewed as racist and harkening back to him leading the birther movement during the years of the Obama presidency.
“Do you think Trump mocking your birth name was racist?” Charlamagne asked.
She skirted giving a direct answer. “I mean, I think we can let other people decide that,” she said. “I think you look at it and it’s kind of like the Tim Scott, ‘you sleep with yourself.’ I mean, we’ll let Donald Trump sleep with that all that he wants.”
Charlamagne, who told POLITICO this month that he is not endorsing the Biden-Harris campaign this cycle, has repeatedly questioned why the Republican Party doesn’t rally around Haley’s candidacy.
Haley still looks unlikely to overtake former President Donald Trump, but she is making more headway in a presidential race than any previous Republican woman candidate.
Part of the reason she’s staying in, as she explained for the program’s overwhelming Black and brown audience, is to thwart a future Kamala Harris presidency.
“There will be a first female president,” Haley told hosts Charlamagne tha God and DJ Envy, repeating similar comments she made on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Tuesday. “It’s either going to be Kamala Harris, or it’s going to be me. And it should send a chill up everyone’s spine thinking about the fact that it would be Kamala Harris.”
Haley, who shares Indian descent with Harris, reprised a tactic used by previous Republican candidates, saying that the upcoming election is not about President Joe Biden, but about the current vice president. She hinted there’s a significant chance he wouldn’t serve a full term given his age.
“It’s not about her personally,” Haley quipped. “She’s never been a governor. She’s never had executive experience. She was a Senator for a couple of years. But the things that Biden gave her, she didn’t do anything with them.”
“I just haven’t seen her do anything,” she said.
Charlamagne, who like Haley is a South Carolina native, also peppered Haley with her evolving statements on the root causes of the Civil War, alluding to a moment last where she did not name slavery as a main factor. She later corrected it, but not before receiving a torrent of criticism and Haley labeling the person who asked the question a “Democratic plant.”
“When he asked that question, I made the mistake of thinking he was trying to ask something else,” Haley explained.
“I could tell that he was not a fan,” Haley said, before pausing. “Slavery should have been the first thing that came out of my mouth.”
“Did you feel stupid that night?” Charlamagne asked.
“Yeah,” Haley responded matter of factly. “That almost seemed too easy. I thought he was asking a harder question. And that’s why I didn’t say it. It was wrong. I should have said it.”
“But it was just me overthinking that question,” she said.