‘Shame on Nikki Haley,’ says Frank Bruni


And he has a point.

It seems our girl, so fresh from tarnishing her own fine record on the Confederate flag, has stepped in it again. Not sure why she keeps doing this. Does she feel she’s not in the limelight enough these days?

Anyway, Bruni said this in his latest email newsletter, under the headline “Don’t you dare question my patriotism:”

Shame on Nikki Haley.

In the aftermath of the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, she didn’t merely praise President Trump — a show of support that may well reflect her own, like-minded assessment of events and is absolutely her right.

She denigrated Americans who took a different view by disingenuously describing their reaction. “The only ones that are mourning the loss of Suleimani are our Democrat leadership and our Democrat presidential candidates,” she told Sean Hannity during an interview on Fox News. Of course he thrilled to that characterization…

Nikki’s point seems to have been the usual thing about partisanship stopping at the water’s edge. And there’s value in the usual thing, when we have a usual sort of president. Which we did, with the first 44.

But our situation now is as different as ones and zeroes from what we had before 2016.

As I said earlier, as we try to apply the usual standards for whether killing Soleimani was a good thing or a bad thing, we just can’t forget for a moment that this is Trump who decided to do this. And it is impossible to give him the benefit of the doubt, ever. This is a startlingly ignorant, narcissistic, unprincipled, impulsive, vindictive man who doesn’t know what truth is, who has no notion of the national interest, and is motivated entirely by what he sees as benefiting him personally, or stroking his pathetically fragile ego.

Not that he’ll never do what’s best for the country. He’ll do that if it is coincidentally the thing that he sees as benefiting him. He’s like a stopped clock that way.

To pretend we are living through a normal political era in which the usual maxims apply is to lie to yourself and to the American people.

And we get enough of that already from the White House.

Nikki Haley managed to extricate herself from the Trump administration with her image as Golden Girl of the GOP relatively untarnished. Now that she doesn’t work for him any more, she should keep her distance, if she’s serious about the future ambitions we keep hearing about.

She’s better off not trying to be Trump’s Yes Girl. Anyway, he’s got Kellyanne Conway for that

14 thoughts on “‘Shame on Nikki Haley,’ says Frank Bruni

  1. Harry Harris

    If you want to understand Nikki Haley, just look where the money lies. Her whole track record displays a money-seeking orientation whether extracting money from a health care entity while a state rep to leaving 2 jobs early to glean from larger pastures. She hoped to make hay on the book and speaking tour after the governorship and ambassador role. She did land a $450k very-part-time job on Boeing’s board, no doubt related to her part in structuring an incentive package to get them to SC and carrying anti-union water for them as governor. Anywhere she heads looks mostly like a pursuit of fame and fortune. If Trumpism looks profitable for her future, she’s there.

  2. Barry

    She said this on walking hypocrite and liar Sean Hannity’s show?

    Did Hannity tell her that his own coworker, TUcker Carlson, came out very publicly against the action also?

    Don’t answer. I know he didn’t.

  3. bud

    Another Republican saying something mean spirited. I’m shocked, shocked! Not sure why this is particularly news worthy. Just another day in the craven GOP.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      It’s important because, ever since she was first elected governor, national media — blinded by Identity Politics — have hailed her as some sort of moderate, charismatic New Direction for the GOP.

      It’s important to take note whenever that interpretation is shown to be so dramatically wrong…

      1. Harry Harris

        Quite on point. She was given great credit for the flag removal, a largely symbolic act. Ask working poor people how her claims to provide medical care while refusing to expand Medicare worked. Ask the people who drive on crappy roads thanks to her and Sanford’s refusal to raise gasoline taxes while pushing hard to lower the top income tax rates.

        1. bud

          I never really thought the flag thing was a particularly big deal. Many people saw the flag removal as some sort of panacea for race relations. But, as Harry says, it was just symbolic.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            …and of course, people have never, ever, killed or died for symbols…

            We’re missing Doug these days. Remember how he likes to say something is “just words?” Well, let’s talk words. Let’s talk about a phrase I don’t allow here on the blog: “F___ You.” Those are just words, and what they convey is more or less the same thing that flying that flag in front of our seat of government said to black South Carolinians. That’s what that “symbolism” conveyed: We white people have the power to do this because this is OUR state, not yours, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

            There’s no question whatsoever, Nikki has risen to be a leader on something once. And that was on the flag. Y’all haven’t spent the time I have over the years watching Republicans go through all kinds of painful gyrations to avoid even appearing to THINK about doing anything about that flag. Her departure from that course was extraordinary, and completely unexpected by me. So I give her full credit for doing the right thing on that occasion, however many bad things she made have done before or since.

            1. Mr. Smith

              Words definitely do matter. And they can indeed get you killed. Just take the case of Gen. Soleimani, for example. As a prelude to his assassination, the State Dept under the current so-called US Administration unilaterally designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. This is the only case where an element of a sovereign government, not a non-state group or actor, has been so designated. And as former Congressman and Navy Secretary Jim Webb points out in an op-ed, “definitions define conduct.” And this designation underlies our action and, as Webb goes on to point out, “invites a lax moral justification for a plethora of retaliatory measures.”


      2. bud

        Come on Brad, you really do focus more on symbolism than any other human being on earth. I never really got the over arching sense of Identity Politics with Nikki. I certainly never thought of her as moderate. But I guess we all see what we want to see.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          That’s right, and the national media chose to celebrate her. They were hugely impressed at South Carolina electing an Indian-American woman, and kept putting her on the cover of magazines.

          Since Trump made her ambassador to the U.N. (in order to pay a debt to Henry McMaster), national media types haven’t shut up about her being the future of the party. They’ve been enormously impressed with her, and have generally tended to portray her in a somewhat positive light.

          Maybe you haven’t followed that national coverage very closely…

          1. bud

            I guess not. But to the extent that narrative does exist I suspect it’s based on wishful thinking by old school media types longing for a time when the Republican Party was a respectable purveyor of the nation’s interests rather than a personality cult.

            1. Bill

              There were people who really worked for civil rights in SC.Nikki wasn’t one,but she and The State like to pretend they were part of “the fight”…

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          Speaking of words and other symbols — there are those that matter, and those that are a waste of everyone’s time.

          We have a lot of silly conflicts over words and symbols in our society in this age. For instance, many of the battles that occur in cancel culture are about things that serious people wouldn’t bother with.

          Yesterday, I can’t believe I listened all the way to the end of a podcast about a particularly stupid “issue” from a few years ago. It was a retelling of the “free speech” case about the high school kid who decided to flip off his elders by holding up a large banner before the whole student body and TV cameras that said “Bong hits 4 Jesus.” (I can’t seem to find the podcast, but here’s an NPR story about the case.)

          The message wasn’t intended to mean anything. It was just a kid trying to get a rise out of his elders. And he did. And the ACLU sued on his behalf, and the U.S. Supreme Court ended up having to rule on it.

          What a colossal waste of everyone’s time! There was no grand principle at stake. There was no political idea being suppressed when the kid got suspended.

          Even the ACLU said the principal should have given the kid a good talking-to. They just objected to the suspension. (And on this, I agree up to the point at which they sued. The principal should have told the kid to grow up and go back to class, rather than allowing him to be a center of attention for the next several years.)

          What a mockery of something as hallowed and important to the very essence of this country as the First Amendment (which is of course to a great extent about our use of words and symbols — ones that matter). What a waste…

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