Amid reports that she was a contender for a spot in Donald Trump’s cabinet, Indian- American South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley stressed that the Republican Party needs to be inclusive and cannot afford to forget immigrants or people of colour.
“If we as Republicans are going to lead effectively and have staying power as a governing power, we must accept that Donald Trump’s election was not an affirmation of the way Republicans have conducted themselves,” Haley told a Washington DC audience on Friday.
“He ran against both parties, against a political system he argued was fundamentally broken, an argument the voters subscribed to in massive numbers. They rejected the political class of all stripes, Republicans included. And we have no one to blame but ourselves,” the 44-year-old Republican leader said.
Her remarks come amid speculation that she was a top contender for either secretary of state or secretary of commerce in Trump’s cabinet.
After the November 8 general elections, the Republican Party had not only taken control of the White House, but also retained its majority in the US House of Representatives and the Senate. It also won a record number of governors’ elections.
Haley on Thursday had met Trump. In her first public remarks after that, Haley did not mention anything about her meeting but delivered a speech in which she reiterated her position on issues of ethnicity, race and religion, which are different from that of Trump.
She recollected the immigration experience of her parents who came from India with just $8 in their pocket.
Voters, Haley argued, rejected the political class, “and we have no one to blame but ourselves” because the party “moved toward big government rather than away from it...Republicans lost their way”.
Haley said as a result of the impressive victory, the Republican party needs to do an autopsy of it as it would do during a defeat.
The Republican Party, she said, must remind people that it is the party who will offer opportunities “to all citizens, regardless of their race, gender or where they are born and raised”.
The two-term South Carolina Governor also praised the president-elect saying that though she was never a cheerleader for Trump, the Republican party has an unprecedented opportunity to enact conservative policies and must take advantage of his election.
“I did vote for him and was absolutely thrilled to see him win,” she said.