Rave reviews for Gov. Nikki Haley’s State of the State response is entrenching talk about the South Carolina Republican becoming a vice presidential pick later this year.
Haley is receiving praise for saying Tuesday that Republicans should accept part of the blame for dysfunction in Washington and warning GOP voters to avoid following “the siren call of the angriest voices,” a reference to her party’s presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
Republicans leaders issued statements of support for Haley’s address — and she got a thumbs up from a former White House adviser under Obama. Van Jones said on CNN that Haley gave possibly one of the best State of the Union responses ever.
“She did it beautifully,” he said after announcing “a star was born tonight.”
Furman University political scientist Danielle Vinson said Haley offered something missing from 2016 GOP candidates on the campaign trail.
“She did more talking about her party’s positive agenda than any single of them has done all year,” she said.
As a result, talk the morning after her address centered on Haley’s vice presidential ambitions.
The nation’s youngest sitting governor gave the same answer she’s offered for months, telling morning-show hosts that she is willing to speak with presidential candidates who want to consider her for the No. 2 spot.
Trump hit back on Tuesday, telling Fox News that Haley was weak on illegal immigration. The governor said twice in her address Tuesday that more work is needed to stop undocumented immigrants.
Trump noted that Haley solicited and received campaign contributions from the New York billionaire. Trump has donated $7,000 to Haley’s two gubernatorial runs and $5,000 to a political group with ties to the governor.
“Perhaps if I weren’t running she’d be in my office asking me for money, but now that I’m running she wants to take a weak side on immigration,” he told Fox News.
Trump said Haley, who turns 44 next week, was not off to a good start if she wants to be his running mate.
Some other conservatives were not impressed that South Carolina’s first woman and minority governor criticized her own party.
Radio show host Laura Ingraham tweeted that Haley’s address was the type of establishment message that might not win the GOP nomination with Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a social conservative, leading in polls: “We'll see how popular these views are as primaries begin.”
Commentator and author Ann Coulter was more blunt, tweeting, “Trump should deport Nikki Haley.”
That will be tough to do. The governor, the daughter of Indian immigrants, was born in Bamberg.