WATCH: NBC’s Craig Melvin Confronts Nikki Haley For Praising Trump After She Slammed Him Over Jan. 6 Riot
NBC News host Craig Melvin confronted former South Carolina Governor and Trump UN Ambassador Nikki Haley over statements she has made about ex-President Donald Trump.
Haley announced her candidacy for president this week with a bio-heavy campaign video on Tuesday and a rally in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday. She’s also been doing a host of interviews to promote her nascent candidacy, and the subject of ex-President Donald Trump is never far from interviewers’ minds.
Such was the case on Thursday morning’s edition of NBC’s Today Show, during which Melvin aired an interview with Haley that kicked off with two-and-a-half minutes of Trump questions.
Haley refused to dispute Trump’s version of their phone call, defended herself for praising Trump after she had slammed him over Jan. 6, and tried to walk a line on Trump’s election denialism:
CRAIG MELVIN: Less than a year ago, you said that if former President Trump was going to run, you wouldn’t run. It’s been reported that a couple weeks ago you call your former boss, you asked for his blessing to run and he said that you, you called him “the greatest president.” If that’s true, then why run against him?
NIKKI HALEY: I’m going to keep that phone call personal. I didn’t ask. I told — that I thought that we needed to go in a new direction. But when I first said I wouldn’t run against him, Afghanistan hadn’t fallen. We didn’t see the rise in inflation like we’ve seen. We didn’t see what was happening in our schools the way it was. And we didn’t see the results of the midterms that we just had. It is time for a new generation of leaders. You shouldn’t have to be 80 years old to get to Washington. And we’ve got to start righting the ship. We need new blood because we have some serious challenges.
CRAIG MELVIN: After the insurrection, you said Trump, quote, “will be judged harshly by history. He went down a path he shouldn’t have and we shouldn’t have followed him.” And then later that same year, you said, quote, “He has the ability to get strong people elected. We need him in the Republican Party.” Can both of those things be true?
NIKKI HALEY: Yes, except for the media, because the thing is…
CRAIG MELVIN: So he can be partially —
NIKKI HALEY: No. Let me finish —
CRAIG MELVIN: — responsible for, for the insurrection, but still be an essential part of the party.
NIKKI HALEY: I have said January 6 was a terrible day. I criticized him for that. And I stand by that criticism. I have said he was a good president in the way that he lifted up so many people economically and he did real good in this country. That can be true, too. When I see something right, I praise it. When I see something wrong, I criticize it.
CRAIG MELVIN: As you know, the immediate past president still maintains that the election was rigged. It was stolen. He’s not alone. There’s this recent Monmouth poll. It found that 61% of Republicans said that President Biden won because of voter fraud. How do you navigate that?
NIKKI HALEY: I don’t have to navigate anything. We saw a lot of things happen during COVID that wouldn’t normally happen that created some mischief that shouldn’t have been there. Is Joe Biden the president? Yes, Joe Biden is the president, and we shouldn’t question that. Do I think that everybody needs voter ID like what we did in South Carolina so that we know that everybody’s vote is valid? Yes.
CRAIG MELVIN: But, you know, election denialism has become a pretty significant part.
NIKKI HALEY: There’s going to be a percentage of people who don’t think Joe Biden’s president,.
CRAIG MELVIN: But 61%?
NIKKI HALEY: I don’t think it’s 61%. I think you have 61% who are saying, look, we need to have trust in our elections and we need it to be as transparent as possible.
Watch above via NBC’s Today Show.
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