When then- South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley agreed to become the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, many critics heralded the move. At the time, President-elect Trump had been stacking his administration with unqualified loyalists and ideological zealots, and Haley was seen as a competent, level-headed appointment.
Where others, up to and including Vice President Mike Pence, seemed only too eager to heap unwarranted hyperbolic praise on the president and provide unconditional support for anything and everything that came out of his mouth or appeared in his Twitter feed, Ambassador Haley would call it like it is and not be blinded by Trump’s act.
That appears to have lasted just over a year. Speaking to the United Nations Thursday, Haley criticized a speech given by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Most of that speech was a rebuke of President Trump’s threat to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, but he spent of a portion of it criticizing “Zionism.”
Without a hint of irony, Haley singled-out that section of the speech as proof that Palestinians were incapable of negotiating peace with Israel. Why? Because criticizing Zionism is tantamount to peddling conspiracy theories, and there’s no place for conspiracy theories in the rhetoric of world leaders.
“A speech that indulges in outrageous and discredited conspiracy theories is not the speech of a person with the courage and the will to seek peace,” Haley told leaders at the U.N., and it appears she was the only person in the room oblivious to the fact that her boss is the conspiracy theorist par excellence.
Donald Trump famously led the discredited ‘Birther Movement,’ the band of mouth breathing conservative activists who insisted that President Obama was born in Kenya and that his Hawaiian birth certificate was forged.
Since becoming president himself, Trump has continued to use conspiracy theories to try to distract the public from ongoing investigations into any role his campaign played colluding with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election.
The most notorious of these is the now discredited theory that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower to spy on his campaign headquarters. No evidence to support the claim was offered then, and no evidence has been uncovered since.
Before joining the administration, Haley had been a rising star in the GOP. A descendant of Indian immigrant parents, she was born and raised in the Palmetto State. As a woman and a minority, she’s one of the few faces of diversity in the otherwise monochromatic Republican Party.
After white supremacist Dylann Roof shot and killed 9 African Americans inside a Charleston, South Carolina church in 2015, photographs were uncovered on social media depicting him embracing the Confederate battle flag and sporting Nazi paraphernalia. We also learned that he ran a white supremacist website.
At the time, the Confederate battle flag still flew over the capitol grounds in South Carolina, which was a decades-old controversy all its own. Soon after the shooting, before the issue could fester into a full-blown political crisis, Governor Haley acted quickly and ordered the flag removed.
It appears that her ability to act decisively when confronted with the rants of a dangerous racist has completely vanished, as has her capacity to detect and avoid such tragically ironic language in her own speeches.
You can view her speech to the U.N. below.