When Trump Said Nikki Haley Had A 'Complexion Problem' Was He Referring To Her Large Pores Or ...
New York Times reporter Peter Baker repeatedly returns to the word "mercurial" when describing the deranged subject of his book, The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021, which was released this week. In an article last week the doubled as a self-promoting book review and exposé, Baker wrote:
The portrait that emerged of Mr. Trump was of a mercurial commander in chief with a retinue that struggled to manage him, baffled by his flights of fancy and fearful that he would launch a war or violate the law long before his drive to overturn the 2020 election led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
"Mercurial" is an exceptionally polite way of describing a fascist. Baker later writes that "Mr. Trump's mercurial approach to the presidency so baffled John F. Kelly, his second chief of staff, that Mr. Kelly secretly bought a copy of a best-selling book by a group of psychiatrists questioning Mr. Trump’s mental health."
However, it's not so much that Trump was subject to sudden and unpredictable mood changes. Unbridled enthusiasm wasn't his tragic downfall. He was consistently awful. Just imagine the worst way a human might respond to a situation and you could probably predict Trump's next move.
Perhaps the least surprising revelation in The Divider is that Trump's a gross misogynist and bigot.
[Trump] harshly criticized women for their looks, telling visitors that Speaker Nancy Pelosi was an example of why women should be careful about plastic surgery and that he would not pick Nikki Haley, his United Nations ambassador, as a running mate because she had a “complexion problem.”
Trump has publicly criticized women's appearances, even suggesting that E. Jean Carroll was too ugly to rape. His remarks about former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley is perhaps shocking only to those who insist Trump's not the most racist president who didn't also own slaves.
We assume that Haley's "complexion" problem wasn't bad acne but that she's a brown woman. An unfortunate liberal urban myth is that Haley uses the name "Nikki" instead of "Nimrata" to hide her Indian heritage, but she was actually born with that name, like Madonna but not as cool. "The View" co-host Sunny Hostin repeated that mistake on air this week and Haley was quick to call her "racist" for judging her name. Haley and most of conservative media pointed out that Hostin's birth name is "Asunción" not "Sunny."
\u201cThanks for your concern @Sunny. It's racist of you to judge my name. \n\nNikki is an Indian name and is on my birth certificate\u2014and I'm proud of that. \n\nWhat's sad is the left's hypocrisy towards conservative minorities. \n\nBy the way, last I checked Sunny isn't your birth name\u2026\u201d— Nikki Haley (@Nikki Haley) 1663694086
Hostin's point is probably that minorities choose more anglicized nicknames when attempting to thrive in white-dominated society, but Haley prefers to promote the popular Republican talking point that liberals are racist to conservative minorities. She'll ride this latest controversy to a few more Fox News appearances, but she'll likely never acknowledge Trump's reported comments about her "complexion."
Democrats still high on "West Wing" reruns will argue that Haley is a formidable Republican candidate for president, but I personally doubt she could win a primary in her home state of South Carolina. During the 2016 campaign, when she was still governor, Haley actively campaigned for Marco Rubio. During an event in my home town of Greenville, Rubio shared the stage with Haley, Sen. Tim Scott, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, the lone white guy. Haley told the assembled crowd, "Take of picture of this. Because this new group of conservatives taking over America looks like a Benetton commercial.”
Haley, who was already on thin ice after removing the Confederate flag from the state house, thought this was a selling point to Republicans, not just in South Carolina but anywhere. Maybe she was sniffing too much "West Wing."
The United Colors of Benetton was a fashion company that's most famous for its ads in the late 1980s/early 1990s. The models in the commercials were diverse, underfed, and somewhat androgynous. A schoolteacher in South Carolina could lose their job if they showed one of those ads in class.
It's laughable in hindsight that Haley would brag about young, diverse conservatives "taking over" the party and implicitly the country itself. Trump's entire campaign was white backlash to diversity and progress.
So, no Nikki Haley will never be president for the same reason Trump reportedly rejected her as vice president. The Republican Party has fully embraced white nationalism, and there's no place for Haley in a Marjorie Taylor Greene administration.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."