Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has retracted her previous statement regarding states’ rights to secede. Haley originally made headlines with her opinion that states had the right to break apart from the Union. “Texas has the right to secede from the U.S. if its citizens decide to do so,” she argued.
“If that whole state says, ‘We don’t want to be part of America anymore,’ that’s their decision to make,” she said during her interview at the Breastfast Club. Her comments drew both praise and criticism all around.
Supporters applauded her defense of states’ autonomy. Critics condemned her view as it contradicts centuries of history and precedents. However, recently, she withdrew her statement, asserting that she didn’t believe states had a right to secede from the U.S.
“No. According to the Constitution, they can’t. What I do think they have the right to do is have the power to protect themselves,” Haley told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.
“What I think they have the right to do is have the power to protect themselves and do all that. Texas has talked about seceding for a long time. The Constitution doesn’t allow for that,” she said. “But what I will say is … Where’s that coming from? That’s coming from the fact that people don’t think the government is listening to them.”
Her shift in position was unexpected, leaving many wondering why the sudden change of heart. In a statement released through her spokesperson, Haley clarified that her previous remarks were misinterpreted and did not accurately reflect her views. She spoke about her commitment to the unity of the United States and the importance of preserving the Union.
Haley previously served as the governor of South Carolina. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union following the election of President Abraham Lincoln in 1860. The secession led to the outbreak of the Civil War. The notion of secession from the Union was credited to John Calhoun, a former U.S. vice president under President John Quincy Adams and President Andrew Jackson.
However, a Supreme Court decision in 1869 defied that idea. In the case of Texas v. White, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the United States is an “indestructible union.” Haley also distanced herself from comments she made in 2010 on the controversy surrounding the Confederate flag.
“During the time when I was a Tea Party candidate, states were very upset about government control. They were very upset about government spending. They were very upset about the fact that they weren’t listening to the people. And there had been a movement that Texas had wanted to secede from the Union,” she said. “And what I said is when the government stops listening, let’s remember states rights matter.”
Haley tried to shift the focus of the discussion by emphasizing that the issue is about ensuring the safety of Texans. “No one is talking about seceding. That’s not an issue at all. What we are talking about the fact is here you have Gov. [Greg] Abbott and the people of Texas who just want to be kept safe,” she said.
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