Nikki Haley Melts Down: Declares Rubio Is for Amnesty at 3pm, Not for Amnesty at 7pm– On Same Day

Nikki Haley (Chase Stevens / Associated Press)
Chase Stevens / Associated Press

In what may be one of the most bizarre political moments to spring out of Nikki Haley’s widely-criticized State of the Union response, Haley declared that donor-class presidential favorite Marco Rubio “believes in amnesty,” before she flipped 180 degrees to adopt the Rubio campaign talking point that he is “not for amnesty.”

Haley— who informed reporters that she is in personal contact and even texts Sen. Rubio— said that the Republican presidential hopeful was “supportive” of her speech condemning GOP frontrunner Donald Trump and “appreciated” what she was doing. Haley’s retraction of her damning statement about Rubio’s support for amnesty came within four hours of her original declaration.

On Wednesday afternoon at around 3:09pm, Haley stunned the punditry class— who had been touting her as a possible VP candidate — when she delivered a devastating blow to Rubio’s campaign mantra that the Obama-backed Gang of Eight bill is not amnesty. Haley declared unequivocally that Rubio was an amnesty supporter.

“I have disagreements with other Presidential candidates,” Haley told reporters in Gaston, South Carolina. “Jeb Bush passed common core, and Marco Rubio believes in amnesty, which I don’t.”

Indeed, following her speech attacking GOP frontrunner Donald Trump and promoting mass immigration, media elites promoted Haley as a possible Vice Presidential candidate.

On Wednesday morning Matt Lauer told Haley, “The attention you’re getting in the wake of this speech is making you—or cementing your place as a leading candidate for Vice President in your party.”

The Washington Post similarly reported, “Nikki Haley cemented her place in the national spotlight Tuesday.”

Pro-amnesty pundit Jennifer Rubin—whom GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has suggested “is in love with Marco Rubio”— wrote a piece entitled, “Nikki Haley’s speech puts her near top of the GOP’s list for Vice President.” Rubin wrote that Haley’s “best moments” in her speech were the ones in which she “described her immigrant experience sounding much like Sen. Marco Rubio.”

Thus, Haley’s bringing Rubio’s unpopular embrace of amnesty into the national spotlight stunned the establishment media, who recognize that the key to Rubio’s success is avoiding the topic of immigration. Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly said that the media refuses to focus on Rubio’s position on immigration because, “They’re protecting him”.

However—four hours after Haley’s initial declaration— she appeared on Fox News with Greta Van Susteren and denounced her previous assertion. Instead, Haley adopted the Rubio campaign talking point. Haley suddenly suggested that his Gang of Eight bill was not an amnesty bill— declaring that Rubio “is not for amnesty”.

When Van Susteren asked Haley about disagreements she had with other Presidential candidates, Haley said: “I talked about Marco Rubio, you know I’m against his Gang of Eight bill. He is not for amnesty, but I was against his Gang of Eight bill.”

Van Susteren followed up—pushing Haley to go on the record in correcting her prior declaration: “You mentioned Sen. Rubio and amnesty, I think I heard something earlier today. Did you misspeak earlier today about an amnesty remark about Marco Rubio? I thought— maybe you didn’t—I don’t—uh, what did you say earlier today? Misspeak?”

In a completely incoherent response, Haley said: “Yeah, it’s been a long couple of days. What I said was that I didn’t agree with him—I meant—what I didn’t agree with him was on the Gang of Eight bill. I said that he wasn’t for amnesty—that’s not what I meant—what I meant was that he supported the Gang of Eight bill and I did not.”

Strangely, Van Susteren replied, “Okay, good,” and then immediately proceeded on to another subject after Haley had retracted her prior statement in favor of Rubio’s campaign talking point.

Here are Haley’s two statements – separated by four hours – side by side.

Haley told reporters in South Carolina, which aired on CNN at 3:09pm ET: “Marco Rubio believes in amnesty, which I don’t.”

Haley told Greta Van Susteren at around 7:20pm ET: “He is not for amnesty, but I was against his Gang of Eight bill… What I said was that I didn’t agree with him—I meant—what I didn’t agree with him was on the Gang of Eight bill. I said that he wasn’t for amnesty—that’s not what I meant—what I meant was that he supported the Gang of Eight bill and I did not.”

Just one day prior on the same network, Rubio himself insisted that the Gang of Eight bill was not amnesty—proclaiming “I do not support amnesty, and I never have.”

However, by that logic, if Rubio’s bill was not amnesty, then all of the people who backed his bill apparently did not support amnesty either. Under Haley and Rubio’s theory, this would mean that Luis Gutierrez, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, La Raza, Mark Zuckerberg, and George Soros all did not support amnesty. Nor did all of the Senate Democrats who unanimously supported the bill. Moreover, under Sen. Rubio’s theory, every single Republican who campaigned in the 2014 midterm elections against the Gang of Eight bill and called it amnesty— such as Sen. Tom Cotton– were lying to their constituents.

Greta’s interview is not the first time Fox News has become a vehicle for muddying the waters on the Gang of Eight. Indeed, as the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza reported in 2013, Fox News was essential in assisting the Gang of Eight’s effort to sell the Obama-backed bill to conservatives:

McCain told me, ‘Rupert Murdoch is a strong supporter of immigration reform, and Roger Ailes is, too.’ Murdoch is the chairman and C.E.O. of News Corp., which owns Fox, and Ailes is Fox News’s president. McCain said that he, [Lindsey] Graham, [Marco] Rubio, and others also have talked privately to top hosts at Fox, including Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Neil Cavuto… ‘God bless Fox,’ Graham said. ‘Last time [i.e. during the 2007 immigration push], it was ‘amnesty’ every fifteen seconds.’ He said that the change was important for his reelection, because ‘eighty per cent of people in my primary get their news from Fox.’ He added that the network has ‘allowed critics to come forward, but it’s been so much better.’

Earlier in the day, Haley informed reporters that she was in personal contact with Marco Rubio and that the two text one another—which perhaps provides context to understanding the Governor’s rapid reversal on her views of Rubio’s immigration.

When a reporter asked if she had heard from any national figures following her State of the Union response, Haley said that Rubio, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie had reached out to her. Haley said they were “supportive” of her speech, in which she attacked the policy positions of the GOP frontrunner, and said they “appreciated” what she was doing. Haley said:

I text with a few of the Presidential candidates— and so I think I heard from Marco, I heard from Jeb, um, I heard from—um, I’m missing one— oh, Chris Christie. So they all came in. I talked to Speaker Ryan this morning. I think I’m talking to Sen. McConnell this afternoon. It’s just nice. Everybody was very supportive. They appreciated what I was doing.

Indeed, with her speech and her subsequent media appearances, Haley seems to have shored up her firm standing in the Ryan-Rubio wing of the Washington GOP, which favors large-scale visa issuances to ensure the free and uninhibited movement of foreign labor.

During her national address, Haley seemed to deliver the mantra of the open-border philosophy— declaring that “No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.” This argument means that any willing employer should be able to hire any willing worker regardless of the country in which they reside—thus removing any right that American workers be entitled to get American jobs.

Since that address, Haley has appeared on a media circuit tour to tout the virtues of nation-changing immigration—a circuit which seems reminiscent of Paul Ryan’s press tour with Luis Gutierrez to stump for Rubio’s immigration expansion agenda in 2013.

For instance, Matt Lauer had asked Haley about a tweet from nationally syndicated talk show host Laura Ingraham:

Haley replied by saying that she disagreed and declared that immigrants are the reason America “is so great”:

I disagree. I think that a lot of what we’re trying to do is say that those angriest voices are not helpful… I do want us to be more inclusive and understand that the reason this country is so great is because of the fabric of America is made by immigrants—and it’s legal immigrants.

Haley reiterated her push for more immigration later that day to reporters in South Carolina: “I think that this country is better when we work together and acknowledge the fact that the fabric of America is based on legal immigrants—of all professions, of all races, of all religions. It’s what makes us the greatest, freest country in the world. I’m going to stand by that.”

However, as conservative columnist and best-selling author Ann Coulter has explained, the fabric of America was not made by immigrants of all religions and from all parts of the globe— in fact, America was not founded by immigrants at all, but rather by British Colonists and European Christian settlers. The American colonies were originally part of Britain, and its entire legal, political, and social structure derived from centuries of Western heritage embodied by America’s founders.

Nor did Haley mention that the history of large-scale third world immigration actually began in 1965, when a Ted Kennedy-backed measure was enacted that eliminated the Calvin Coolidge immigration caps. As a result of that change, today 9 in 10 green cards go to countries outside the western world that share no common history with America. The U.S. for instance, admits more immigrants every year on green cards from the Muslim world than from Europe.

For instance, in 2013, we added nearly three times more immigrants on green cards from Iran (12,863) than France (4,425). We added more than four times more immigrants on green cards from Pakistan (13,251) than Italy (2,960).  And we gave out more than five times more green cards to immigrants from India (68,458), which has the second largest Muslim population in the world, than we did to all of the United Kingdom (12,984).

A common technique of mass immigration-boosters is to say that they want to celebrate “legal immigrants.” But it’s expressly legal immigration (i.e. green cards) that is transforming the country’s political, economic, and social structure. Legal immigration simply means an immigrant from a foreign country is given a visa allowing them lifetime work authorization, permanent residency, family migration, and the ability to vote in U.S. elections. In most other Western countries, this is simply called “immigration” and the world “legal” is seen as redundant– in much the same way that we don’t say “legal taxation” or “legal spending” when referring to federal taxing and spending.

For instance, virtually all of the mass migration from the Muslim world is exclusively “legal immigration.” These are visas being mailed to the Muslim world under the auspices of the 1965 immigration act and other immigration laws. Refugee admissions are also all “legal immigration.” All of the struggles facing Minnesota due to the mass Somali migration is similarly due to “legal immigration.” Moreover, the San Bernardino female shooter was a legal immigrant. Every time an American loses his or her job to an immigrant on a green card, that is “legal immigration.” In other words, the difference between, say, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador and a legal immigrant is that only the legal immigrant has federal permission to take an American job, collect lifetime benefits and welfare, bring in his or her family on green cards, and vote in U.S. elections.

As a result of these legal visa issuances, the U.S. adds a population of new immigrants the size of Los Angeles every three years.

The desire of South Carolina’s Governor for more immigrants echoes calls from South Carolina Republican Congressman Mick Mulvaney, whose website calls for more visa dispensations, stating: “The simple truth is our immigration system is broken… it’s too difficult to enter America the right way.”

When pressed, however, by South Carolina radio host Bob McLain, Mulvaney admitted that he was unfamiliar with the nation’s federal immigration policy—confessing: “Honestly I have no idea what the number of legal  green cards [issued annually] is.”

As Coulter explained on twitter, Gov. Haley is similarly unfamiliar with many aspects of immigration law. For instance, in Haley’s speech she declared, “We must fix our broken immigration system. That means stopping illegal immigration. And it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries.”

Coulter tweeted in part, “Has she read a history book? [Calvin] Coolidge shut it [immigration] down for 1/2 a century.”

Indeed, during the mid-20th century, the U.S. enacted a nearly five-decade immigration pause, allowing wages to grow and immigrants already in the country to assimilate. As Jeff Sessions and Dave Brat explained in a letter hand delivered to every Congressional lawmaker on Tuesday prior to Haley’s state of the Union response:

After the numerically-smaller 1880-1920 immigration wave, immigration was reduced for half a century. There was no net increase in the immigrant population over a fifty-year period—in fact, the foreign born population declined substantially between 1920 and 1970. During this mid-century period of low-immigration, wages surged, incomes soared, the melting pot churned, and—crucially—millions of immigrant workers were now able to climb out of the tenements and into the middle class.

The lawmakers described what happened after visa caps were abolished:

In the fifty years since visa caps were lifted in 1965, the level of immigration in the country has quadrupled—from fewer than 10 million foreign-born residents in 1970 to more than 42 million today. Over the next five decades, Pew Research projects immigration will add another 103 million to the U.S. population—or the population equivalent of 25 cities of Los Angeles.  That would mean 100 straight years of uninterrupted record-breaking immigration growth. This autopilot immigration flow is not only extreme, but ahistorical.

It is precisely this autopilot flow which Haley is celebrating.

Sessions and Brat explained how this is opposed by the vast majority of the GOP electorate and pointed out— although they wrote and distributed the letter prior to Haley’s speech—that our immigration policies will disenfranchise Haley’s own voters of South Carolina:

Ninety-two percent of GOP voters oppose this immigration growth, Pew reports. A microscopic 7 percent of GOP voters say they’d like to see more immigration. And yet party elites continue pushing for more—with no recognition of, let alone concern for, its impact on workers… How can it be possible that the demands of 92 percent of our electorate are not merely ignored, but sabotaged? The last legislation put forward would have tripled green card issuances over the next ten years—a population of new permanent residents almost seven times larger than the population of South Carolina.

To put this transformation into perspective, in the 2012, over one million Republican voters in South Carolina turned out on November 6th to cast their ballots in favor of GOP presidential hopeful. As a result of their efforts, South Carolina gave its nine electoral votes to Mitt Romney and his VP running mate, Paul Ryan.

Yet South Carolina’s nine electoral votes were drowned out by California’s 55 electoral votes– all of which went to Barack Obama. South Carolinan’s votes were completely negated by mass immigration: after four decades of record-high green card issuances, half of California children have a foreign-born parent. There are 8.8 million immigrants in the United States now on green cards and 19.3 million who have already converted their green cards to citizenship. If only half of them ultimately become active voters, that number is still more than 13 times larger than the number of current active South Carolina GOP voters.

Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly recently warned: “If we don’t stop immigration—this torrent of immigrants coming in—we’re not going to be America anymore because most of the people coming in have no experience with limited government. They don’t know what that is. They look to the government to solve all of their problems, and as soon as we have a high majority of people who think that, it’s going to be a different country.”

In a Wednesday column in the New York Times, Ross Douthat similarly explained that large-scale migration from non-Western countries with traditions and values different than our own can have broader cultural and societal implication. Douthat writes:

Culture is very real, and cultural inheritances tend to be enduring… centuries after their arrival various immigrant folkways still define our country’s regions and their mores… What this implies is that accepting immigrants from a particular country or culture or region involves accepting that your own nation, or part of your own nation, will become at least a little more like their country of origin. With small or slow migrations this may only happen at the margins and it may be swamped by other effects; with large or swift migrations it may happen in more significant ways. But whether the immigrants are coming from Asia or Latin America or the Middle East or North Africa, you will be able to see in those regions at least some foretaste of their impact on your own society. And what you see matters, because… Cultural commonalities help assimilation; cultural differences spur balkanization… This means, in turn, that the ‘multicultural’ vision of society beloved of the contemporary left can take an almost infinite varieties of forms —and the crucial question for determining the shape and direction of that society is not necessarily how many cultures are represented and welcomed, but which ones, in what numbers, and at what pace. Which matters because…  Punctuated immigration encourages assimilation; constant immigration limits it.