Nikki Haley: US ‘is not a racist country’

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley declared on Monday that the United States “is not a racist country,” pointing to her own experiences — as the daughter of immigrants and as the first nonwhite governor of South Carolina — as an example of “hope.”

Haley’s remarks at the Republican National Convention came amid a national reckoning over systemic racial inequality and injustice, a topic that has featured heavily in the presidential race between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. They also came amid new protests in Kenosha, Wis., following the police shooting of a Black man as he tried to enter his car on Sunday.

“In much of the Democratic Party, it’s now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie. America is not a racist country,” Haley said. “This is personal for me. I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants.”

The former Trump administration envoy to the U.N. recalled how her parents settled in a “small Southern town” and built a life for themselves despite facing “discrimination and hardship.”

“My mom built a successful business. My dad taught 30 years at a historically Black college. And the people of South Carolina chose me as their first minority and first female governor,” Haley said. “America is a story that’s a work in progress. Now is the time to build on that progress and make America even freer, fairer and better for everyone.”

At times, Haley, who is seen as a potential candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, sought to boost Trump, echoing many of the convention’s featured speakers in praising him for his economic stewardship and leadership, while sharply criticizing Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as too liberal. 

But her speech, at times, struck a more conciliatory tone. 

At one point she recalled the decision during her tenure as South Carolina governor to remove the Confederate flag from the state’s Capitol in the wake of a deadly mass shooting by a white supremacist at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, calling the flag “a divisive symbol” that was taken down “peacefully and respectfully.”

“What happened then should give us hope now. America isn’t perfect. But the principles we hold dear are perfect. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that even on our worst day, we are blessed to live in America.”

Tags 2020 2020 conventions 2020 elections 2020 republican convention Donald Trump Joe Biden Nikki Haley South Carolina
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