Former Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley, running in the Republican presidential primary, is backtracking after suggesting support for resettling Palestinians across American communities.
During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on October 15, the anchor played a clip of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — also running for the GOP nomination — in which he stated that “not all [Palestinians] are Hamas, but they are all antisemitic” as a point to argue that the United States must not take refugees from Gaza.
In response, Haley told CNN that “There are so many of these people who want to be free from this terrorist rule, they want to be free from all of that, and America has always been sympathetic to the fact that you can separate civilians from terrorists, and that’s what we have to do.”
“You have to realize that whether we’re talking about Gazans and Palestinians, all of them don’t want — half of them at the time that I was [at the U.N.] — didn’t want to be under Hamas’s rule,” Haley told CNN. “They didn’t want to have terrorists overseeing them. They knew that they were living a terrible life because of Hamas. You have the other half that supported Hamas.”
The following day, on October 16, a spokesperson for Haley’s campaign told RealClearPolitics the former South Carolina governor “opposes the U.S. taking Gazans” and said she backs a plan that keeps Palestinians in the region.
NEWS: A spokesman for @NikkiHaley tells RCP the ambassador “opposes the U.S. taking in Gazans.” Haley instead believes that “Hamas-supporting countries like Iran, Qatar, and Turkey should take any refugees.”
— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) October 16, 2023
The following day, on October 17, Haley told Fox News in an interview that she has “always” opposed resettling Palestinians across the U.S., pointing to her opposition to Syrian refugees under former President Obama.
“I’ve always said we shouldn’t take any Gazan refugees in the U.S. I said it when I was at the U.N. that we shouldn’t take Syrian refugees to the U.S.,” Haley said:
I believe that those in the region should take them. I said that about Syria then, that’s why Jordan and Turkey took the bulk of the refugees there and I think honestly that Hamas-sympathizing countries should take these Gazans now … there is no reason for any refugees to come to America. My record is very clear on that. [Emphasis added]
Haley’s record, though, is one of a changing perspective on refugee resettlement from the most dangerous regions of the world.
As Breitbart News reported, three days after the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, France, — where seven Islamic terrorists killed 130 people, including one terrorist who reportedly posed as a Syrian refugee to get into the country — Haley was one of only nine Republican governors who continued supporting Obama’s plan to resettle Syrian refugees in the U.S.
Late on November 16, 2015, Haley came out against Obama’s Syrian refugee resettlement operation — hours after the Breitbart News report earlier that day.
Haley also, in December 2015, criticized then-candidate Donald Trump’s plan to ban travel from countries with vast Islamic terrorism problems, calling the policy “absolutely un-American,” “unconstitutional,” and “an embarrassment” to the Republican Party.
“It defies everything that this country was based on and it’s just wrong,” Haley said at the time.
Then, by March 2017, after having been chosen by Trump to represent the U.S. at the U.N., Haley said she actually supported the travel ban, which went on to be ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court.
“It’s not a Muslim ban. I will never support a Muslim ban. I don’t think we should ever ban anyone based on their religion. That is un-American. It is not good,” Haley said. “What the president is doing, everybody needs to realize that what he’s doing is saying, ‘Let’s take a step back. Let’s temporarily pause.’”
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter here.