South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s (R) response to President Obama’s State of the Union address won her praise from the very place she was tasked with criticizing: the White House.
“I have a lot of admiration for the governor,” White House chief of staff Denis McDonough told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “I think some of the things she has done over the last year are remarkable.”
Haley’s response to Obama’s annual address was unusual in that it took a veiled shot at her own party’s presidential front-runner, Donald Trump.
The article goes on to recap the story about what she said and her later naming of Trump. It then continues:
McDonough didn’t specifically direct his praise at that portion of Haley’s speech, and he declined to predict what effect the address might have on the Republican presidential primary.
But he praised Haley for her “powerful” leadership in the aftermath of last summer’s shootings at a historic African-American church in Charleston, S.C., and the subsequent removal of the Confederate flag from state grounds.
“On one level, I wasn’t surprised to see some of the themes of the speech given that,” he said. “A lot of this, including many parts of the speech last night, were admirable.”
McDonough later loosened his political bear hug of Haley, saying the White House disagreed with many of her positions, including her refusal to expand Medicaid in her state.
“A lot of stuff that she has proposed we disagree with, and there are some things we wish she would do she hasn’t,” he said. “By no means am I trying to endorse everything she is doing.”
What’s really ironic is that if Haley became the running mate of some establishment candidate, she probably wouldn’t attract as many minority voters as Donald Trump would.