Voter Finds Haley's Answer on Civil War Question 'Astonishing'

She discussed 'economic freedom' but made no mention of slavery
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2023 8:33 AM CST
Haley Declines to Say Slavery Caused Civil War
Nikki Haley speaks at a town hall event at Tempesta's, in Keene, NH, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023.   (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

A voter at a town hall event in New Hampshire on Wednesday asked Nikki Haley about the cause of the Civil War—and he was not satisfied with the Republican candidate's answer, which did not mention slavery. "I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run," Haley said, per Politico. "The freedoms and what people could and couldn't do." When she asked the voter, who identified himself as Patrick, what he would have done, he told her he wasn't the one running for president, the AP reports. Haley then expanded on her answer, saying she "will always stand by the fact that I think government was intended to secure the rights and freedoms of the people."

"Government doesn't need to tell you how to live your life They don't need to tell you what you can and can't do," Haley said. "They don't need to be a part of your life. They need to make sure that you have freedom. We need to have capitalism. We need to have economic freedom." The voter replied: "In the year 2023, it's astonishing to me that you answer that question without mentioning the word slavery." Haley replied, "What do you want me to say about slavery?" and then moved on to the next question at the Berlin event.

The former South Carolina governor has made similar remarks about the Civil War before, including in 2010, when she described it as a clash between groups fighting for "tradition" and "change," reports the AP. As a candidate for governor that year, she rejected calls to remove a Confederate flag from Statehouse grounds, but changed course after the Charleston church massacre in 2015. Her failure to mention slavery in her response Wednesday was widely condemned on social media, CBS News reports. "It was about slavery," President Biden said in a post on X. "Yikes," posted the Ron DeSantis campaign, describing his rival's town hall event as "disastrous." (More Nikki Haley 2024 stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.