Nikki Haley Backtracks On Civil War Comments, Says ‘Of Course’ Slavery Was The Cause


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Republican presidential candidate and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley spent Thursday morning clarifying her opinion on why the Civil War started, after facing some heat for refusing to say slavery was the cause of the 19th century war.

Key Facts

Following backlash from both sides of the aisle, Haley walked back her Wednesday night comments and said, “of course the Civil War was about slavery,” while appearing on The Pulse of NH Thursday morning.

The initial controversial comments were made Wednesday night during a town hall appearance in Berlin, New Hampshire, where a voter in the audience asked Haley what the cause of the Civil War was and Haley said the war was about the government interfering in people’s freedoms.

After the voter asked Haley what she thought the cause of the Civil War was, Haley asked the voter what he thought the cause was and he responded, “I’m not running for president.”

When Haley refused to mention slavery, the voter said it was “astonishing” that in 2023 she could “answer that question without mentioning the word slavery,” and Haley asked the voter, “What do you want me to say about slavery?” before moving onto the next question.

During the Thursday morning interview, she said the goal of the Civil War was to ensure each person has their freedom, including freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the “freedom to do and be anything they want to be without anyone or government getting in the way.”

Haley suggested Thursday morning the person who asked the question at the town hall was a Democratic plant, noting he didn’t want to answer her question and saying that he wouldn’t give reporters his name.

Crucial Quote

“Yes, I know it was about slavery,” Haley said during the Thursday morning radio interview. “I’m from the South, of course I know it’s about slavery.”

Chief Critic

President Joe Biden responded to the viral clip of Haley’s town hall comments on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying “it was about slavery.”

Key Background

Haley served as governor of South Carolina—the first state to secede during the Civil War—from 2011 to 2017 and one of her most notable accomplishments during that time was signing a bill that removed the Confederate flag from the state capitol. The move came after a racially-motivated mass shooting at a historically Black church in Charleston left nine people dead. At the time, the move was seen as progressive, particularly for a Republican governor in a southern state. Years before, in 2010, Haley defended states’ rights to secede from the U.S. and said the war was made up of two sides, one fighting for “tradition” and one fighting for “change,” according to CNN.

Further Reading

Here Are The Billionaires Backing Nikki Haley As A Trump Alternative: LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, Charles Koch And More (Forbes)

Nikki Haley Leads DeSantis In Race For Second Place, New Poll Finds (Forbes)

Nikki Haley Backtracks On Civil War Comments, Says ‘Of Course’ Slavery Was The Cause

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