Nikki Haley walks backs leaving slavery out of answer about Civil War cause

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Nikki Haley on Thursday acknowledged the Civil War was “about slavery,” after facing swift criticism for making no mention of it when asked about the cause of the conflict at a town hall.

“Of course the Civil War was about slavery. We know that. That’s the easy part of it,” the Republican presidential candidate said on “The Pulse of NH,” a local radio show.

“I want to nip it in the bud. Yes, we know the Civil War was about slavery. But more than that, what’s the lesson in all this?” she added. “That freedom matters. And individual rights and liberties matter for all people. That’s the blessing of America. That was a stain on America when we had slavery. But what we want is never relive it. Never let anyone take those freedoms away again.”

Scholars agree slavery was the main driver of the Civil War. But Haley, a former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina governor, did not mention it in a lengthy exchange Wednesday evening.

Haley on Thursday also accused the man who asked her the question at Wednesday’s event of being a Democratic plant. The audience member who asked the question declined to share his name or party affiliation with reporters at the event.

“What was the cause of the United States Civil War?” the man asked Haley on Wednesday evening in Berlin, N.H.

She replied, “Well, don’t come with an easy question.” Then she proceeded to answer.

“I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run, the freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do,” Haley said.

“I think it always comes down to the role of government and what the rights of the people are,” Haley added. “And I will always stand by the fact that I think government was intended to secure the rights and freedoms of the people. It was never meant to be all things to all people. Government doesn’t need to tell you how to live your life. They don’t need to tell you what you can and can’t do. They don’t need to be a part of your life.”

The questioner expressed surprise at Haley’s response. She also faced swift criticism from President Biden and others.

At a town hall in North Conway on Thursday, Bill Anderson, who plans to vote for Haley and has donated to her campaign, sat in a crowded high school library, expecting to hear more from Haley about the role slavery played in the start of the Civil War. He read about her answer from the night before and said he didn’t hold it against her that she left out mentioning slavery.

“I don’t expect her to be perfect,” he said.

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Nikki Haley walks backs leaving slavery out of answer about Civil War cause

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