By QUINN SCANLAN, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley acknowledged Tuesday that America is not perfect, but said President Donald Trump has worked to bridge the racial divide.
“President Trump has passed criminal justice reform which Obama and Biden didn’t do. We saw the lowest unemployment of African Americans and Hispanics, which wasn’t under President Obama or Biden. We have seen more funding go to the historically black colleges that never have happened under Obama and Biden,” Haley said in an interview on Good Morning America.
Haley continued, “I’m looking at results at what the president has done. We’ve seen real change. Do we have more to do? Absolutely. Are we perfect? No, but we have to continue improving, and that means getting rid of dirty cops, making sure we continue to add to criminal justice reform and making sure that every person, regardless of color and gender, has opportunities to lift them and their families up.”
The daughter of two Indian immigrants, Haley was the first woman and first woman of color elected to be governor of South Carolina. While serving as the state’s chief executive, Haley gained national attention after she called for the Confederate Flag to be removed from the Statehouse following a mass shooting where a white man opened fired at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, killing nine African American parishioners.
Haley has said she was “deeply disturbed” by the president’s comments about there being “very fine people on both sides” after clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters resulted in one woman dying in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.
She told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos that she stands by those words, but while she and the president don’t always agree “on the style,” whenever she had an issue with something she saw him say or do, she would address it with him, and “he would always listen.”
“He would always work towards improving and I think that’s what we have to understand, is that at the end of the day, the man that I knew in the White House was someone who genuinely cared about the American people,” Haley said. “He cared about the status of all people. He cared about making sure that he left his mark on improving America for when he was done.”
Haley was also asked about Democratic nominee Joe Biden selecting California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate, the first time a woman of color was chosen to join a major party ticket.
“I’m not going to take away the fact that this was a huge step for her but it was also a huge step for women, a huge step for minorities,” Haley said, adding that she and the senator “disagree terribly on policies” and that she thinks the policies of a Biden-Harris administration “don’t help minorities.”
Haley went on to say that the Republican Party needs to continue reaching out to people, including minorities.
“We have to go to places that Republicans have been uncomfortable to go. We have to start talking to Indian Americans. We have to start talking to African Americans. We have to start talking to Hispanics,” she said. “We have to talk to women in a way that we tell them what we’re about and what we’re for, and not let others define what our party is.”
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.