The Hill: Haley Attack on Trump Causes Firestorm

Sean Rayford/Getty Images
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Cristina Marcos and Scott Wong report in The Hill:

Conservative Republicans ripped the GOP establishment on Wednesday for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s criticism of Donald Trump.

A day after President Obama’s State of the Union address, more people were talking about Haley’s GOP response — and her warning that Republicans not “follow the siren call of the angriest voices” — than anything the president said.

Many interpreted Haley’s criticism of Trump as an attack by the GOP establishment on the outsider candidates who have turned the party’s primary race and conventional political thinking upside down.

“I think the establishment needs to quit bashing Donald Trump as much and listen to what he’s saying,” said Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus who hasn’t endorsed anyone in the presidential primary. “Because some of the things he’s saying is resonating with the American people, or he wouldn’t be at the percentages of the polls that he is.”

Haley was invited by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch ­McConnell (R-Ky.) to deliver the address, though Ryan’s office said it had little input in its content.

In her speech, Haley said Republicans were partly to blame for Washington’s dysfunction.


Haley, seen by many as a potential vice presidential pick for the GOP, acknowledged her comments were aimed partly at Trump.

In an interview with local reporters, she said the Republican presidential front-runner’s call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigrants compelled her to speak out.

“You know, the one thing that got me I think was when he started saying ban all Muslims,” said Haley. “We’ve never in the history of this country passed any laws or done anything based on race or religion. Let’s not start that now.”

At the same time, Haley said her comments weren’t directed just at Trump and that she had differences with other GOP presidential candidates as well.

“You know, Jeb Bush passed Common Core, and Marco Rubio believes in amnesty, which I don’t. There’s lots of things,” Haley said.

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