Nikki Haley Dodges Slavery As The Cause Of The Civil War
INSIDE: Lauren Boebert ... Jack Smith ... Tom Smothers
A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
We’re Still Doing This In 2023?
Nikki Haley – a former governor of South Carolina, the first state to secede in 1860, who removed the Confederate flag from the state Capitol – couldn’t bring herself to mention slavery when asked at a campaign event about the cause of the Civil War.
The remarks Wednesday evening while campaigning in New Hampshire, which did not secede from the union, were a tacit acknowledgment that the party of Lincoln has settled comfortably into its status as a revanchist minority-white rump Trumpist party.
When the audience member asked the question, Haley raised her eyebrows, spun around and retreated upstage before turning back around and facing the audience with a smile: “Well don’t come with an easy question. 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. What do you think the cause of the Civil War was?”
After a bit of back and forth, Haley engaged in some additional nonsensical meandering that was non-responsive to the question.
When the questioner expressed surprise that she had not mentioned slavery, Haley asked: “What do you want me to say about slavery?”
“No, you’ve answered my question, thank you,” the questioner responded.
After the 2015 massacre of nine black churchgoers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, in whose harbor the first shots of the Civil War were fired, then- Gov. Haley responded to growing public pressure by reversing course and signing a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the state Capitol in Columbia, bringing an end to a long-running controversy over the placement of the flag.
Amusing … Or No?
News accounts of Nikki Haley’s remarks awkwardly shoehorned in the basic fact-check that, yes, the Civil War was fought over slavery:
Politico: “While there were a number of contributions to the outbreak of the Civil War, the conflict, which was the deadliest in U.S. history, was fought predominantly over the South’s desire to see the preservation of slavery.”
WaPo: “Haley’s answer did not include any mention of slavery, which scholars agree was the main driver of the conflict.”
ABC News: “While several political and economic factors ultimately contributed to the start of the American Civil War, slavery was at the center of the nation’s tension.”
The NYT provided admirable context for the remarks in its writeup, but perhaps inadvertently telegraphed how bedeviled by racism we remain, calling the question “simple yet loaded.”
Almost 160 years after the end of the Civil War, asking a presidential candidate to affirm its root cause remains a “loaded” question.
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Whether the President falls within the list of officials subject to the disqualification provision of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment?
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Whether the denial to a political party of its ability to choose the candidate of its choice in a presidential primary and general election violates that party’s First Amendment Right of Association?
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Herb Kohl, 1935-2023
RIP Tom Smothers
Tom, of Smothers Brothers fame, has died at age 86:
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