South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley impressed some Democrats and moderate Republicans with her Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday night – but there’s already backlash brewing on the conservative right.
“Trump should deport Nikki Haley,” conservative commentator Ann Coulter tweeted part way through Haley’s speech. She later added: “Nikki Haley says ‘welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of religion.’ Translation: let in all the Muslims.”
Radio host Laura Ingraham also tweeted about Haley’s speech, writing, “[Former Obama official] Van Jones just praised Nikki Haley speech. Enough said.”
The lines in the speech getting particular notice are those that seem to allude to Donald Trump -- particularly when Haley said, “there’s a tendency to falsely equate noise with results.”
The quickly evolving sentiments underscore the deepening divide in the Republican Party — one that has many so-called “establishment” Republicans increasingly convinced that Trump is on his way to winning the nomination. It’s a reality, many believe, that will fundamentally reshape the GOP as it’s now known.
Haley’s speech won praise from Republicans who’ve opposed Trump.
“Proud of my friend @nikkihaley for delivering a positive & uplifting response to Pres. Obama’s #SOTU. Clear vision for a brighter future,” Jeb Bush wrote on Twitter.
Other conservative pundits took to Twitter to defend the Palmetto State governor:
Democrats, too, praised Haley’s address. “Really effective speech by @nikkihaley. Avoided the Response to SOTU curse,” former Obama adviser David Axelrod wrote on Twitter.