Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued sharp criticism to left-leaning media in a new op-ed, accusing them of dividing Republican members over their views on former President Donald Trump.
Haley’s piece, published in the Wall Street Journal, argues that these media outlets are engaging in “a calculated strategy to pit conservatives against one another” by demanding that Republicans take strong positions one way or the other about the former president.
“It wants to stoke a nonstop Republican civil war. The media playbook starts with the demand that everyone pick sides about Donald Trump—either love or hate everything about him,” Haley wrote in the piece published on Wednesday. “The moment anyone on the right offers the slightest criticism of the 45th president, the media goes berserk: Republicans are trying to have it both ways!”
But she pointed out that real life is “never that simple” as people “can do both good and bad things.” She said that when people on the left and right make judgements about specific Trump actions that they like or dislike, they’re not “trying to have it both ways” but rather are exercising common sense.
Her remarks come amid media speculation of the Republican Party’s political future post Trump presidency. Many media outlets have been paying close attention to the positions of various GOP lawmakers, especially during the Senate impeachment trial of the former president, in which many Senate Republicans were heavily scrutinized over their votes and comments.
Haley argues that if Americans are unable to make judgments beyond their party affiliations, then the United States “can’t face its biggest challenges.”
“We separate into two camps that always hate each other. We become estranged from family and friends over politics,” she warned.
“Is that really what the anti-Trump media wants? Maybe. Hatred and polarization draw attention, ratings, and clicks. But what’s good for them is bad for America.”
She argued that if the media succeeds in stirring up the division, the Republican party would “dissolve into endless warfare, ensuring extreme liberal government for years to come.”
“Instead, Republicans need to be honest about what worked and what didn’t over the past four years,” she said.
Haley, who founded the advocacy group Stand for America, drew media attention in recent weeks after speaking to Politico Magazine in a lengthy profile interview where she seemingly broke from Trump over his post-election efforts. She said she was “disappointed” and “angry” in the way Trump conducted himself following the election and on Jan. 6.
“We need to acknowledge he let us down. He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again,” Haley told Politico.
Despite her comments, she continued to praise Trump in her op-ed for his work during his four years as president, saying that his major policies “were outstanding and made America stronger, safer, and more prosperous.” She added that in her view, Trump’s actions after the election will be “judged harshly by history.”
“I will gladly defend the bulk of the Trump record and his determination to shake up the corrupt status quo in Washington. I will never defend the indefensible,” she wrote.
“If that means I want to have it ‘both ways,’ so be it. It’s really the only way forward—for the party and the country.”
Haley has been tapped as a presidential frontrunner for the GOP in 2024.
Trump has not indicated whether he will run again in 2024, saying that it was “too early” to make a decision on his political future.