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Nikki Haley Scrambles Into Damage Control After Praising Biden

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Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is in damage control mode after committing an extreme act of heresy in this Trumpian era of politics: she “praised” President Joe Biden.

That is, however, the Mediaite headline on an article your friendly neighborhood contributing editor wrote earlier Wednesday regarding Haley’s appearance on Fox News’ The Faulkner Focus: “‘Strong Words’: Nikki Haley Praises Biden UN Speech Condemning Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine.”

From the article:

“Did President Biden say anything to dissuade [Russian President Vladimir] Putin from going nuclear and going further into killer mode?” Fox News’ Harris Faulkner asked Haley.

Biden “came out strongly” against Russia, Haley replied. “He called them out for the comments that they’re saying. He called them out for the actions they’ve taken against Ukraine.”

“It was strong words. Now he’s got to follow it with strong actions,” she continued, defining that as working with NATO to send anti-drone equipment and other weapons they need. “We don’t need to send blank checks to Ukraine. You need to make sure they have the ability to defend themselves.”

As I also noted, Haley said that Biden should have called out the countries that were helping Russia, further criticized Biden for “falling all over himself to get into the Iran deal,” and stated that “none of this would have happened had we not had the debacle in Afghanistan.”

About an hour after the show aired, Haley posted a tweet reacting to Biden’s speech containing only criticism, writing his remarks had been “nothing but lip service to the greatest threats we face” and said his “platitudes and talking points fell short” of the messages we needed to send “China, Iran, and our other adversaries.”

She also shared two other tweets with video clips from her interview with Harris Faulkner — neither of which included her “strong words” praise for Biden.

Wednesday afternoon, I received an email from Ken Farnaso, who identified himself as part of Haley’s comms team and used an email address with a domain connected to her Stand for America PAC. Farnaso was highly concerned about my headline using the  term “praise.”

In the email, Farnaso wrote, “Haley wasn’t effusively praising Biden,” and argued that “[t]he headline doesn’t reflect the interview and we’d love it if you’d change it to reflect that.”

Hey Sarah – Ken Farnaso here with Amb. Nikki Haley’s comms team.

Saw the piece you wrote on Mediate about Nikki’s appearance on Harris’ show today and wanted to touch base about the headline… Haley wasn’t effusively praising Biden.

You even quote in your piece…

“Now he’s got to follow it with strong actions,” she continued, defining that as working with NATO to send anti-drone equipment and other weapons they need. “We don’t need to send blank checks to Ukraine. You need to make sure they have the ability to defend themselves.” “What he didn’t do, which I wish he would have gone further, is call out the countries that are helping Russia.”

The headline doesn’t reflect the interview and we’d love it if you’d change it to reflect that.

Keep in touch–Thanks!

Ken

Farnaso is correct that Haley “wasn’t effusively praising Biden,” but I did not write that. The “strong words” comments were, objectively speaking, praise, as was her analysis that the president “came out strongly” against Russia.

The fact that Haley also added several critiques afterwards does not mean that the praise did also not happen. It would have been misleading if we had only reported on Haley’s praise, but the article includes the full video clip and transcribes her comments about Biden — both positive and negative.

With limited space, a headline is not expected to cover the entire contents of an article, and we stand by the current headline. A former Trump official — especially one who has not parted ways with the former president à la Alyssa Farah Griffin — criticizing Biden is not as newsworthy as if she praises him.

I emailed this information to Farnaso and requested that he let me know if there was a typo or other error in my transcription of Haley’s comments. He did not reply.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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