Nikki Haley was asked what caused the Civil War. She didn’t mention slavery.

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WASHINGTON — Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley failed to mention slavery when asked what caused the Civil War in a town hall Wednesday, drawing backlash from both her Republican and Democratic rivals. 

During the town hall in Berlin, New Hampshire, a voter asked Haley, “What was the cause of the United States Civil War?”

“Well don’t come with an easy question or anything,” Haley responded. “I mean, I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how the government was going to run. The freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do.”

She then redirected the question to the voter, who said he wasn’t the one running for president and wanted to hear her answer. Haley continued that Americans need economic freedom and other liberties without government interference.

“Thank you,” the voter said. “In the year 2023, it’s astonishing to me that you’d answer that question without mentioning the word slavery.”

Haley then asked the voter, “What do you want me to say about slavery?” to which the voter replied, “You’ve answered my question. Thank you.”

President Joe Biden quickly seized on the moment, sharing a video on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, of Haley’s exchange with the voter and adding “It was about slavery.”

Haley, who has been gaining momentum in the Granite State behind former President Donald Trump, also faced criticism from her Republican rivals. 

Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy shared on X, “I think she mistook him for a Super PAC donor.” And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign shared a clip of the exchange with the caption “Yikes” on X.

In 2015, during Haley’s tenure as governor of South Carolina, she signed a bill to remove a Confederate flag from the grounds of the statehouse following a shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston that left nine Black Americans dead. 

However, in 2019, Haley defended the Confederate flag in an interview with conservative radio host Glenn Beck, saying that South Carolinans saw it as “service, sacrifice and heritage” before the 2015 shooter “hijacked” it.

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Nikki Haley was asked what caused the Civil War. She didn’t mention slavery.

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