Politics /

Nikki Haley Says She Doesn't 'Play The Identity Politics Game'

'I think the problem is when you start labeling people, you’re assuming that they’re different than you'

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley told radio host Charlamagne tha God she doesn’t “play the identity politics game.”

Charlamagne interviewed Haley, who is currently seeking the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, while he guest hosted The Daily Show on Wednesday night.

During the interview, Charlamagne asked Haley, who is an Indian-American and the only female candidate seeking the Republican nomination, why she doesn’t incorporate identity politics often used by Democrats.

“They always talk about how diverse they are,” Charlamagne said. “Why don’t you get into the identity politics game and play up being Indian more? Because a lot of voters just think you’re a white woman.”

Haley countered Charlamagne’s question by suggesting identity politics is divisive.

“We were the only Indian family in a small rural southern town in South Carolina,” Haley said of her childhood. “We weren’t white enough to be white. We weren’t black enough to be black.”

“And I remember when I would get teased on the playground and I would come home, my mom would always say, ‘Your job is not to show them how you’re different, your job is to show them how you’re similar,’” she added. “And that lesson on the playground has played out throughout my life, whether it was in the corporate world, whether it was as governor, whether it was as ambassador.”


“I think the problem is when you start labeling people, you’re assuming that they’re different than you. I don’t want to just be a woman. I don’t want to just be Indian,” Haley said. “I don’t want to just be a mom. I don’t want to just be a Republican. I don’t want to just be all of those things. I’m more than that. And I think every person is more than that.”

The radio host claimed there was “sexism within the GOP” and asked if Haley believed her chances of securing the nomination were lower because she was a woman.

“I don’t worry about being a woman at all,” Haley countered. “I mean, I wear heels. It’s not for a fashion statement. It’s because if I get mad, you know, I’m ready to kick any time. And I think that people have always respected me because they know I do my homework, they know I fight for what I believe in and I tell the truth. I tell the hard truths whether they want to hear it or not. And I think that’s where I’ve always been different.”

During the first Republican presidential debate in August, Haley referenced her sex during a back-and-forth with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

“This is exactly why Margaret Thatcher said, ‘If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman,’” Haley said.

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