South Carolina governor Nikki Haley speaks to voters at Hudson's Smokehouse in Lexington, South Carolina. AFP/Chris Keane
South Carolina's Indian American governor Nikki Haley has again ruled out a vice presidential run, but what is a making more news is a "bizarre" and "insensitive" question posed to her about Sikh taxi drivers.
Time magazine editor Belinda Luscombe asked her at the end of an interview this week: "In New York City, which you're visiting for a couple of days, a lot of our taxi drivers are Sikhs. If you get one, are you going to give him a slightly bigger tip?"
Born Nimrata Randhawa to Sikh immigrant parents from India, Haley, who was on a book tour promoting her autobiography, Can't Is Not An Option seemed unfazed as she responded with a laugh, "Oh, I give the same tip to everyone."
Politico, a leading a political newspaper, called it a bizarre question, and The Hill, which focuses on Congressional politics sounded off on the incident under the headline, "Haley forced to sit through joke about Sikhism."
"Even if you get past the question itself, the context makes it even more insensitive considering Haley had just explained why she was no longer a Sikh," it noted.
In fact, Luscombe had asked Haley if things would have been different if she had run for office as a Sikh.
The tea party favourite replied that discussing the issue of faith in her new book was important because "I felt like a lot of people wanted me to discount the way I was raised."
"And that was something I would never do," Haley continued. "I'm very proud of the way that I was raised, I'm very proud of the way that my parents raised me. But I also know that being Christian is something that's very true to me and (husband) Michael."