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By Dan Cooney

Responding to the speculation that her national political star is on the rise, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called the added attention "painful” because of the deaths of nine people in Charleston last month.

"Nine people died in Charleston, and what we've been dealing with is nine funerals," the Republican governor said Sunday on NBC’s "Meet the Press."

She described the victims of last month’s deadly shooting at Charleston’s historic Emanuel AME Church, including Cynthia Hurd, "who said her life motto was to be kinder than necessary," and 26-year-old Tywanza Sanders, who "covered up his Aunt Susie, who was 87, and said, ‘We mean no harm to you, you don't have to do this.'"

"That's what I want people talking about: the Emanuel Nine that forever changed South Carolina, changed this country and showed what love and forgiveness looks like," Haley said.

Haley, the daughter of two immigrants and one of two Indian-American governors in the nation, also reacted to recent comments by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on the rise of undocumented immigration across the southern border. She said she understood his frustration on the issue, but it remains to be seen whether he is fit to be president.

"We need to be very conscious of how we communicate," she told Chuck Todd. "There are a lot of legal immigrants that have made this country the place it is today."