“The Daily Show” guest host Charlamagne Tha God spoke with Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley on why she doesn’t embrace what he calls the “identity politics game” like Democrats have in recent years.
There was a big emphasis on demographic diversity of the Democratic field during the 2020 election cycle. Similarly this year, there is a historically diverse field of candidates running in the GOP primary, Haley among them. She is vying to become the first female presidential nominee in GOP history, in addition to being the first female president.
“Why don’t you play the identity politics game, though?” Charlamagne asked Haley on Wednesday. “Because that’s something Democrats like to do. They always talk about how diverse they are. Why don’t you get into the identity politics game and play up being Indian more? Because a lot of voters just think you’re a White woman.”
“We were the only Indian family in a small rural southern town in South Carolina. We weren’t White enough to be White. We weren’t Black enough to be Black,” Haley responded. “And I remember when I would get teased on the playground and I would come home, my mom would always say your job is not to show them how you’re different, your job is to show them how you’re similar. And that lesson on the playground has played out throughout my life, whether it was in the corporate world, whether it was as governor, whether it was as ambassador.”
Haley said she didn’t want to add to divisions further by taking about labels.
“I think the problem is when you start labeling people, you’re assuming that they’re different than you. I don’t want to just be a woman. I don’t want to just be Indian,” she said. “I don’t want to just be a mom. I don’t want to just be a Republican. I don’t want to just be all of those things. I’m more than that. And I think every person is more than that.”
“Do you think being a woman will keep the GOP from fully supporting you?” Charlamagne then asked. “Do you think that the sexism in the GOP could get behind you?”
Haley first responded by quipping “There’s never been any lines to the women’s bathroom in any of the jobs I’ve ever had.”
“I don’t worry about being a woman at all,” she said. “I mean, I wear heels. It’s not for a fashion statement. It’s because if I get mad, you know, I’m ready to kick any time. And I think that people have always respected me because they know I do my homework, they know I fight for what I believe in and I tell the truth. I tell the hard truths whether they want to hear it or not. And I think that’s where I’ve always been different.”
Haley has seen a small rise in the polls in recent months since her first two performances at the GOP debates although former President Trump remains the clear frontrunner. The former U.N. ambassador is placing third behind Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in national polls and in Iowa, according to the RealClearPolitics average. However, she is polling second behind Trump in the most recent polls out of New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Charlamagne Tha God previously praised Haley on his radio talk show “The Breakfast Club.” In September, he said Republicans should “clear the field” for Haley following her performance at the second GOP debate.
He also hailed the former South Carolina governor for her stance on mandating cognitive tests for aging elected officials, referring to the Senate as “the most privileged nursing home in the country” and calling for term limits.
“Nikki is absolutely right. She ain’t say one damn thing wrong,” Charlamagne said. “I’ll stop her when she stops telling the truth. We need term limits, and, you know, if you are going to stay in, you definitely need mental competency tests over the age of whatever.”
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