South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s expeditious and successful campaign to remove the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds may put her in contention for the second spot on the GOP presidential ticket, according to Politico
Haley has been widely lauded for her "decisive action" on the flag following the massacre of nine black parishioners by an avowed white supremacist while attending Bible study at their Charleston, South Carolina, church on June 17. On Thursday, she signed a law ordering the controversial symbol to be taken down.
The 43-year-old second-term governor managed to do what no other Palmetto State politician ever could: unify the state Legislature on the hotly contested issue of the flag.
"Nikki showed leadership in this instance, and she represents a new Republican face in the South," Republican strategist Steve Schmidt told Politico. "She speaks to the growing diversity of Republican elected officials in executive office, and she’s been a very effective governor in the state of South Carolina, and certainly, she’s going to be a person given serious consideration."
The governor took to Facebook
to thank the citizens of her state and to call for solidarity moving forward.
"Today, as the Senate did before them, the House of Representatives has served the State of South Carolina and her people with great dignity," Haley wrote in her Facebook post. "I'm grateful for their service and their compassion. It is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of, a day that truly brings us all together as we continue to heal, as one people and one state."
While more than 9,500 people "liked" Haley’s post, there were nearly as many comments, many of them critical.
"I would not vote for you again. Ever," reads one. "Would you have so much 'courage' if you were in your first term? You've done more to divide SC than any single person in our history. To think i wasted my votes on you for SC House, and Governor, twice."
Another person sarcastically wrote, "Hooray, racism no longer exist in the state of South Carolina. Now let us mount our unicorns and ride off into the sunset."
Haley’s time in the spotlight could be temporary, Schmidt cautions, noting that her "name recognition remains virtually nonexistent, the positive buzz from the public relations coup may evaporate when the national media moves on, and South Carolina is a general election non-factor."
Schmidt, who Politico reports managed John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and was "instrumental" in McCain ’s choice of Sarah Palin as his vice president, cautions that Haley’s "knowledge of world affairs and national security remains untested and unknown at this point."
Clemson University political science professor David Woodward told Al Jazeera America
that despite Haley’s performance in "leading the public grief," it’s too soon to know where it will take her, if anywhere.
"It’s a much hotter spotlight on a national stage," he said.
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