Nikki Haley served as the U.N. ambassador under President Trump. Before that she was South Carolina’s first female governor. But when she announced her candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on Valentine’s Day 2024, the greeting from National Public Radio was no lovefest.
Danielle Kurtzleben interviewed Deepa Fernandes for the Valentine’s Day edition of NPR’s talk show Here & Now and showed Haley no love, turning Haley’s immigrant story against her: “Her parents are Indian immigrants, something that she brought up in her campaign video. You know, she’s also talking about the making--coming to America was the best decision she ever made. But you know her time in the Trump administration, there was a lot of anti-immigrant rhetoric. Has she responded to any of that?”
Friday’s Morning Edition, hosted by Leila Fadel, bizarrely tried to sell a Lincoln Project senior advisor as a “conservative commentator” while ripping Haley: “Our colleague A Martínez asked conservative commentator Tara Setmayer about how Haley's bid fits into GOP efforts to present a more inclusive face.”
Setmayer’s recent Twitter feed is wall-to-wall Haley hostility, which perhaps explains her NPR appearance.
TARA SETMAYER: So to see Nikki Haley reemerge now as a presidential candidate feels a little hollow to me, as far as the Republicans' efforts to continue diversifying, given the positions that she took and was accepting of working under the Donald Trump administration.
A MARTÍNEZ, HOST: So you consider her part of the old guard of the GOP.
SETMAYER: Correct. They're saying they want to move in a new direction, but they're resurrecting figures of the past. Her announcement speech felt very 2000 or 2004, didn't feel as though it was representative of what the 2023 Republican Party represents because Donald Trump is still the titular head of it….
Setmayer confirmed she left the Republican Party in 2020, which makes her an interesting choice to go to for expertise on potential Republican candidates
MARTÍNEZ: If the Republican Party were to, say, disavow Donald Trump, would that be the last or only big obstacle to really having an effort by the Republican Party to try to diversify?
SETMAYER: It has to start there. We've seen the xenophobia. We've seen the racism. We have seen how hostile Trumpism has been to diversification in this country, to minorities, to immigrants. The idea of America First has been very exclusive; it's not inclusive. And until the Republican Party has a full repudiation of that, there's no credible attempt at saying that this is a party that is inclusive and that they're welcoming of diversity….
On Wednesday, political correspondent Danielle Kurtzleben focused on Haley’s relationship with the Confederate flag, which she had removed from the state capital after a white supremacist murdered nine black churchgoers in Charleston. But Kurtzleben threw in additional digs at Trump and Republicans in general:
Trump put racial resentment at the forefront of American politics, across issues from immigration to policing to education. And Trump support has been correlated with certain racist beliefs.
(The above link goes to the always reliable Vox, where the reporter used to work.)
The reporter ditched Haley to widen her criticism of the GOP:
….Haley is the first woman of color to be a major candidate for the Republican nomination, and she acknowledges her difference...and then immediately blasts Democrats as racially divisive, referencing the 1619 Project and progressive lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
But simply casting Democrats as the enemy won't unify all Republicans -- particularly those who are disgusted with what the GOP has become….
Teresa Cosby at Furman University points out that Haley is often mistaken for a moderate but right now, being more extreme may appeal more to primary voters in a swath of red states, including South Carolina.