Haley criticizes Trump over Capitol riot, election claims in RNC speech

  • In World
  • 2021-01-08 02:51:18Z
  • By Politico

Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley sharply criticized President Donald Trump over the Capitol riot and his behavior since the election, telling Republican National Committee members in a closed-door speech Thursday evening that Trump's actions "will be judged harshly by history."

"President Trump has not always chosen the right words," Haley said during an appearance at the RNC's winter meeting on Amelia Island, Fla., according to a person familiar with her remarks. "He was wrong with his words in Charlottesville, and I told him so at the time. He was badly wrong with his words yesterday. And it wasn't just his words. His actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history."

Haley is one of several former senior Trump administration officials to scold the president in the wake of Wednesday's mob uprising at the U.S. Capitol. Former Attorney General Bill Barr and ex-White House chief of staff John Kelly are among those who've spoken out.

Haley, who is widely regarded as a likely 2024 presidential candidate, called out Democrats and technology and social media companies for "inflam[ing] the American people's passions beyond constructive boundaries."

But she also said the GOP played a role, adding that "if we are the party of personal responsibility, we need to take personal responsibility."

"We can and should talk about our major differences," Haley said. "But we must stop turning the American people against each other - and this Republican Party must lead the way."

Haley's remarks came on the second day of the RNC's annual winter meeting, which draws GOP officials from across the country. With Trump poised to leave office in two weeks, attendees say they have been grappling with questions about the future of the party.

Among the topics being discussed are the party's twin defeats in Tuesday's Georgia Senate runoffs, which will give Democrats control of both chambers of Congress as well as the presidency later this month. Some attendees have privately blamed the president for the defeats, arguing that his relentless and unfounded accusations of voter fraud dampened GOP turnout.

Haley acknowledged that Republicans faced a "tough reality" and said they had "some decisions to make about the political predicament" they find themselves in.

"We can whine about it. We can complain about it. We can blame each other for it. Or we can do something about it. If you ask me, there's no whining in politics," she added.

Haley, a former South Carolina governor, is one of several would-be 2024 candidates to make an appearance at the RNC meeting. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul also made appearances Thursday. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is to speak Friday.

Haley - in what might be an early preview of a future campaign platform - used part of her speech to highlight her record as U.N. ambassador. And after an election in which the party took a drubbing in suburban areas, Haley suggested the party embrace inclusion.

"This Republican Party is a home for anyone, because we stand for the principles that matter to everyone. This is not the time to abandon those principles. It is the time to proclaim them, proudly, from the suburbs to the cities to the farms all across the country," she said.

Wednesday's riot has been a major point of discussion at the meeting. During a breakfast with RNC members earlier in the day, party chairwoman Ronna McDaniel acknowledged that images of Trump supporters storming the Capitol were damaging to the party.


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