Nikki Haley, the 2024 Republican presidential candidate, recently addressed the controversy that ensued from her description of the causes of the American Civil War.
During a campaign event, a voter inquired about the war’s cause, and Haley’s initial response did not mention slavery.
“I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run — the freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do,” she said.
“I mean, I think it all comes down to the role of government,” she added. “We need to have capitalism. We need to have economic freedom. We need to make sure that we do all things so that individuals have the liberties so that they can have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to do or be anything they want to be without government getting in the way.”
The voter expressed shock at Haley’s failure to mention slavery, to which Haley responded, “What do you want me to say about slavery? Next question.” This response drew criticism from various quarters, including the White House and other Republican presidential candidates.
“The first thing I should have said was slavery. I completely agree with that. When you grow up in the South, slavery is a given. Like when you think of the Civil War, you know it was about slavery. That’s never been in question.”
Haley, during her tenure as governor of South Carolina, played a pivotal role in removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse.
Haley reiterated the point on Fox News with host David Asman.
“We want to always fight for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom for a person to do anything they want to do without government or another person getting in their way. If you went on and heard the rest of the explanation, that’s what I was trying to say. But yes, I should have said slavery right away.”
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