Nikki Haley Suggests She Was Smeared After Uproar About Confederate Flag Remarks

December 7, 2019 Updated: December 7, 2019
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Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley suggested that she was smeared by the infamous Media Matters organization after the group shared video of her recent remarks about the Confederate flag with a misleading share line.

Media Matters is a group that focuses on “monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation,” according to its website. The group has shared a number of conspiracy theories, including claims that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia.

Jason Campbell, an employee of the nonprofit, shared a clip on Friday of Haley recently speaking with The Blaze’s Glenn Beck.

“Nikki Haley says the Confederate flag was about ‘service, and sacrifice, and heritage’ until Dylan Roof ‘hijacked’ it,” Campbell wrote in the “share line,” or in text accompanying the clip.

But Haley said that “people” in South Carolina felt that way about the flag, not her, as she recalled the aftermath of the 2015 shooting at a black church in Charleston by Dylann Roof, who was white.

Epoch Times Photo
A man holds a sign up during a protest rally against the Confederate flag in Columbia, South Carolina, on June 20, 2015. (Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)

“South Carolina fell to our knees when this happened. This is one of the oldest African-American churches. These 12 people were amazing people. They loved their church. They loved their family. They loved their community,” Haley said. “And here is this guy who comes out with his manifesto holding the Confederate flag and just hijacked everything that people thought of.”

“We don’t have hateful people in South Carolina. There’s always the small minority that’s always going to be there. But people saw it as service and sacrifice and heritage. But once he did that, there was no way to overcome it,” she continued.

She said “the national media” tried jumping on what happened to further an agenda including a certain portrayal of racism, more gun control, and the death penalty. She said she had to push them away to let South Carolinians grieve.

“We had a really tough few weeks of debate, but we didn’t have riots. We had vigils,” Haley said. “We didn’t have protests. We had hugs. And the people of South Carolina stepped up and showed the world what it looks like to show grace and strength in the eyes of tragedy.”

After a number of reporters and outlets shared the clip from Media Matters on Friday, Haley took to Twitter to say in a statement: “2015 was a painful time for our state. The pain was and is still real. Below was my call for the removal of the Confederate flag & I stand by it. I continue to be proud of the people of SC and how we turned the hate of a killer into the love for each other.”

She shared a transcript of her remarks at the time calling for removing the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds. Haley was governor of the state in 2015.

Haley also retweeted, or shared, posts harshly criticizing Media Matters and people who had shared the clip with the misleading share line.

“If you’re a journalist and you genuinely don’t understand why a huge chunk of the country doesn’t trust or believe your industry, take a look at all of your colleagues sharing a completely false narrative of @NikkiHaley’s remarks from Media Matters… that’s why,” one post she shared, from attorney James Hasson, read.

“Outrage culture strikes again. So called ‘journalists,’ eager to judge & condemn without knowing the facts or context, pounce on Nikki Haley. Is this really the culture we want to be? Prone to accusatory outbursts and emotional reasoning? No, it’s not,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said in another post shared by Haley.

Several outlets and commentators deleted tweets about the edited clip, including Meghan McCain, the daughter of deceased Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), The Hill, and Axios.

McCain had said that Haley’s remarks were “deeply insensitive and ignorant.” She did issue an update.

Axios said in a statement: We’ve deleted a tweet saying that Nikki Haley said the Confederate flag represents ‘service, sacrifice and heritage.’ Our story has been updated to reflect that Haley said: ‘People saw [the flag] as service, and sacrifice and heritage.’ The story still contained the embedded tweet from Campbell of Media Matters.

The Hill deleted a similar tweet but did not issue a correction. It also had Campbell’s tweet inside of its story.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) was among those defending Haley. Scott, the only African-American Republican senator, said: “It’s a shame that almost five years later, South Carolinians have to relive the heartbreak of the Emanuel 9 shooting—this time politicized by the left and media on the national stage.”

“Our state, led by then-Governor Haley, proved to the nation that faith and love conquered all evil,” he added. “There was never a moment where I second-guessed Governor Haley’s leadership through the tragedy and I am disgusted that people would suggest that her actions, and more importantly our state’s character after the event, were maligned.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber