South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley defended the tone of her State of the Union GOP response during an appearance on NBC’s “Today Show” Wednesday morning.
Haley spoke to the nation Tuesday night moments after President Obama gave his final State of the Union address. After Haley expressed her expected disapproval of the president’s address, she directed criticism towards her own party. Haley called out the Republican Party for “our contributions” in the government losing trust from the American people and certain politicians within the party encouraging division across the country.
“I think Republicans need to understand that they too are responsible for the status of where we are in the country,” she told Matt Lauer in an interview Wednesday.
While she never mentioned anyone directly by name in Tuesday night’s address, Haley’s seemed to be referring to Republican frontrunner Donald Trump when she referred to “angriest voices” Americans must not follow. Haley confirmed during Wednesday’s interview that she was, in fact, referencing Trump, along with others.
“We have citizens who are law-abiding, who love our traditions, who do everything to be productive citizens in America, they should feel welcome in this country,” she told Lauer.
She went onto say that Trump has, “definitely contributed to what I think is just irresponsible talk.”
Some conservatives angered by Haley’s response felt it wasn’t in good taste to save her sharpest criticism for those in her own party.
Trump responded to Haley’s comments Wednesday morning by telling “Fox and Friends” that Haley is, “very weak on illegal immigration” and insinuated that if he weren’t running for president, she would be asking him for campaign contributions. Haley stood by what she said Tuesday night telling Lauer, “I respect all of those people and understand their opinion but you know I disagree.”
Haley also answered speculation of a possible vice presidential run. The governor said, if approached by one of the candidates, “I absolutely would sit down and talk with anyone that wanted to talk.” But otherwise she said she has not given it much thought.
Haley said as of now, she’s focused on the release of the South Carolina budget and the State of the State address she is scheduled to make next week.
Kimberly Washington filed this report