Nikki Haley says ‘we can’t go back to the pre-Trump GOP’ in op-ed blaming the ‘liberal media’ for Republican party’s identity crisis

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Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley with former President Donald Trump.

  • Nikki Haley took on the “liberal media” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Thursday.
  • The ex-UN ambassador was rebutting a recent profile on her conflicted view of Trump post-Capitol siege.
  • She is one of the main subjects of speculation around the 2024 GOP presidential primary.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

In a 685-word Wall Street Journal op-ed published Thursday, Nikki Haley accused the political press of having a “calculated strategy” to divide the Republican Party over former President Donald Trump.

Ostensibly outlining her vision for the future of the GOP, Haley’s argument in the op-ed is an implicit rebuttal of a recent Politico profile by Tim Alberta that examined her “fundamental conflict” as a 2024 hopeful who is “still trying to have it both ways” with Trump’s legacy.

Haley, a former US Ambassador to the United Nations, wrote that the “liberal media doesn’t care” about the future of the party and is trying to “pit conservatives against one another.”

“It wants to stoke a nonstop Republican civil war,” she wrote. “The media playbook starts with the demand that everyone pick sides about Donald Trump – either love or hate everything about him. 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!”

“It’s a calculated strategy to pit conservatives against one another,” Haley continued. “It’s also a ridiculous false choice. Real life is never that simple. Someone can do both good and bad things.”

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Nikki Haley and Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Oct. 9, 2018, after she announced her plans to resign as UN ambassador by the end of the year.

Much of the Politico profile centers around Alberta trying to get Haley to answer basic questions about Trump’s role in “pummeling our institutional norms” and whether the GOP bears responsibility for how he perpetuated lies about the 2020 election being stolen, culminating in the January 6 Capitol siege.

Throughout the Politico piece, Haley kept deflecting, with Alberta coming to the conclusion of “a simple truth: She is still trying to have it both ways.” In her WSJ op-ed, Haley took issue with that descriptor.

“Praising Trump’s record and criticizing his conduct isn’t ‘having it both ways.’ It’s simply common sense,” reads the article’s sub-headline. 

“We separate into two camps that always hate each other,” Haley wrote later in the piece. “We become estranged from family and friends over politics.

“Is that really what the anti-Trump media wants? Maybe,” she continued. “Hatred and polarization draw attention, ratings and clicks. But what’s good for them is bad for America.”

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Trump and Haley at a United Nations Security Council meeting in September 2018.

Later in the op-ed, Haley delivers her assessment of the GOP’s standing after Democrats retook the White House and Senate in the last election cycle, giving them control of both chambers of Congress along with the presidency for the first time in a decade.

“We can’t go back to the pre-Trump GOP. Those days are over, and they should be,” she wrote. “But we lost our majorities in the House and Senate, and we’ve lost the national popular vote in seven of the past eight presidential elections. Surely there’s room for improvement as a party. We should embrace the successes of the Trump presidency and recognize the need to attract more support.

Haley continued: “Here’s my take: Most of Mr. Trump’s major policies were outstanding and made America stronger, safer and more prosperous. Many of his actions since the election were wrong and will be judged harshly by history. That’s not a contradiction. It’s common sense.”

On Wednesday, Haley requested to meet with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, but was rejected by the former president, according to Politico Playbook.

The former UN ambassador also addressed Trump’s election fraud conspiracy theories.

“Mr. Trump’s legal team failed to prove mass election fraud in court,” she wrote. “But election security is still urgently needed. If you have to show photo ID to buy Sudafed or get on a plane, you should have to show photo ID when voting in person or by mail. Again, these statements don’t contradict each other. They’re obviously true.”

After getting through the media criticism, Haley outlined where she stands with Trump going forward.

“I will gladly defend the bulk of the Trump record and his determination to shake up the corrupt status quo in Washington,” she said. “I will never defend the indefensible. I didn’t do that when I served alongside President Trump, and I’m not going to start now.”

“If that means I want to have it ‘both ways,’ so be it,” Haley added. “It’s really the only way forward-for the party and the country.”

Read the original article on Business Insider