‘I Was A History Major’: CNN’s Jake Tapper Pushes Back At Nikki Haley Over Racism Claim

But the Republican presidential candidate just doubled down.

CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday challenged Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley over her widely-panned claim to Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade earlier this week that America is not and has “never been” a racist country.

During a televised town hall event at New England College in New Hampshire, Tapper reminded Haley that “protections for the institution of slavery were written into the U.S. Constitution, the White House was built with slave labor” and that Haley’s “home state of South Carolina seceded from the Union, fought a war to defend the enslavement of Black people.”

“I understand you don’t think America is a racist country now,” acknowledged Tapper. “But we’re here at a college. Do you really think, as a historical matter, America has never been a racist country?”

Haley replied, “It was that men are created equal with unalienable rights, right? That was what we all knew. But what I look at it as is I was a brown girl that grew up in a small, rural town. We had plenty of racism that we had to deal with, but my parents never said we lived in a racist country, and I’m so thankful they didn’t because for every brown and Black child out there, if you tell them they live or are born in a racist country, you’re immediately telling them they don’t have a chance.”

The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said she believed in the importance of telling children that “America is not perfect” and “we have our stains” but that “our goal should always be to make today better than yesterday..”

“National self-loathing” is “killing our country,” Haley claimed, later saying she wanted children of color to see her political ascent and say, “‘No, I don’t live in a country that was formed on racism. I live in a country where they wanted all people to be equal and to make sure they had life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’”

Tapper followed up, “OK, but just to push back a bit, because I was a history major in New Hampshire” before saying she was talking about the ideals of America but that the country was still “founded institutionally on many racist precepts, including slavery.”

Haley argued that “the intent” of America’s founding was “to do the right thing” and said she refused “to believe that the premise of when they formed our country was based on the fact that it was a racist country to start with.”

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