Nikki Haley slams Civil War 'word salad' for not mentioning 'slavery'

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Democrats and supporters of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Wednesday after she refused to attribute slavery as a primary cause of the Civil War.

Haley, 51, caused apparent confusion during a town hall event in Berlin, NH, after a voter asked the former United Nations ambassador to identify the cause of the worst war in American history.

The White House hopeful seemed caught off guard by the question and failed to mention the “strange institution” of the antebellum South in his response.

“The cause of the civil war is basically how the government is going to operate,” Haley said. “Freedoms and what people can and cannot do.”

“I think it's always the role of government and what the rights of the people are,” Haley said. “I will always maintain that government is intended to protect the rights and liberties of the people.”

She continued her long answer on a tangent about capitalism and First Amendment rights.

Nikki Haley was asked by a New Hampshire voter about the cause of the Civil War because she refused to name slavery as the primary cause of the Civil War. Kaitlan Collins/Ex

“It should be all things to all people,” the Republican presidential front-runner continued. “The 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. They want to make sure you have freedom.

“We want capitalism. Want economic freedom. We have to make sure that we do everything so that individuals have freedom, so they have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, to do or be whatever they want.

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The person who posed the question to the candidate responded that it was “surprising” to hear his answer “without mentioning the word slavery”.

Nikki Haley said, “Civil war is fundamentally about how government is going to operate.” Kaitlan Collins/Ex

“What do you want me to say about slavery? Next question,” Haley retorted.

President Biden's X account shared a video of Haley's town hall moment and tweeted, “This is about slavery.”

Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted that Haley's response was “unbelievable if you're black. [South Carolina] when he was governor.”

“The same person who said the Confederate flag is about tradition and heritage and that as a minority woman she is the right person to have it on state home turf. Some may have forgotten but I haven't. It's time to take off the rose-colored Nikki Haley glasses people,” she added.

“I'm sorry, [Haley]. The Civil War was about slavery. Period,” tweeted Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.).

Christina Bushaw, rapid response coordinator for Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, described Haley's curt response as “word-salad about the Civil War.”

“Surprised” to hear Nikki Haley's answer “without mentioning the word slavery,” replied the questioner. Kaitlan Collins/Ex

Bushau accused “conservative media figures” of ignoring her response and “not making her look like a fool with her own words.”

DeSantis press secretary Brian Griffith characterized the moment as “a giant mess of his own making”.

The Haley campaign did not immediately respond to The Post's request for comment.

The RealClearPolitics average of polls has Hawley in second place in New Hampshire with 21.5 points.

Granite state primary exam will be held on Jan 23.

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