Washington: In a rare gesture, the White House has praised Indian-American South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley for showing “courage” in her response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address in which she appeared to jab Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump.
“Her willingness to stand up for some important principles was noted, and it took courage. And for that, she deserves credit,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One.
Obama, himself did not personally watch her address — which was yesterday discussed by the mainstream American media throughout the day — but was aware of Haley’s response to his last State of the Union Address, Earnest said.
“The President did not get a chance to watch it live. We were still travelling back from the Capitol while she was delivering the response. The President has read news accounts of it, so he certainly is aware of her response,” he said.
“I think, at the White House we took note of it. She was willing to do something that a lot of other leading Republicans have been unwilling to do, which is to actually articulate a commitment to some core American values that some leading Republican presidential candidates are speaking out against, or at least speaking in a way that contradicts those values,” Earnest said.
“And her willingness to stand up and speak out against that took some courage, and it was rather conspicuous, given the willingness of a lot of other leading Republicans to either ignore it or to try to sweep it under the rug. In some cases, we’ve seen leading Republicans be totally co-opted by it,” the White House Press Secretary said.
In her impressive nine-minute speech that launched her into national politics, Haley criticised Obama’s policies but also tried to jab her party’s White House front-runner Trump by urging Americans to resist “the siren call of the angriest voices” on immigration.
Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Haley did a remarkable job with in her speech.
“I thought she was remarkable, actually. I thought it’s always a difficult thing to be, the Republican speaker after President Obama, but she did an extraordinary job,” Bush told MSNBC .
“I think she talked about a more broader hopeful, optimistic Republican message, a conservative message that draws people, the great diversity of our country, towards our cause. That’s how you win and that’s how you have to govern when you’re a governor, and I thought she did a great job,” Bush said.