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Haley uses her appearance on 'SNL' to poke fun at her Civil War gaffe and jab at a stand-in Trump

5 months 2 weeks 1 day ago Sunday, February 04 2024 Feb 4, 2024 February 04, 2024 3:53 PM February 04, 2024 in News
Source: Associated Press
Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley poked fun at herself over a campaign misstep, but her primary target during a “Saturday Night Live” appearance was Donald Trump, joining in a skit that mocked a stand-in for the former president over his refusal to debate her and questioned his mental fitness.

“Had a blast tonight on SNL! Know it was past Donald’s bedtime so looking forward to the stream of unhinged tweets in the a.m.,” Haley posted on X, formerly Twitter, early Sunday.

The segment is a faux CNN town hall with Trump in Columbia, South Carolina, which holds the next nominating contest on Feb. 24. “SNL’s” Kenan Thompson and Punkie Johnson play hosts Charles Barkley and Gayle King, respectively, and James Austin Johnson is Trump.

Haley, a former South Carolina governor, is an audience member who is introduced as “someone who describes herself as a concerned South Carolina voter” when she is called upon to question the candidate.

“My question is why won’t you debate Nikki Haley?” she asks.

Trump, the front-runner for the nomination, has avoided all debates so far in the campaign, and Haley is his last major rival.

“Oh my God, it’s her, the woman who was in charge of security on Jan. 6. It’s Nancy Pelosi,’' the actor responds.

During a campaign speech in New Hampshire last month, Trump repeatedly seemed to confuse Haley, who was his U.N. ambassador, with Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the former House speaker. Trump had mistakenly asserted that Haley was in charge of security at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when Trump supporters stormed the building.

U.S. Capitol Police are responsible for security on the grounds of the Capitol and protecting Congress, along with the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms. Trump has accused Pelosi of turning down security he says his administration offered, but a special House committee that investigated the siege found no evidence to support that claim.

After the town hall moderators correct the stand-in Trump, Haley asks, “Are you doing OK Donald? You might need a mental competency test.”

Trump has boasted that he has “aced” cognitive tests in the past, and Johnson’s Trump told Haley: “You know what I did. I took the test and I aced it, OK? Perfect score. They said I’m 100% mental.”

The final question in the skit comes from an audience member, “SNL” host Ayo Edebiri, who stars in Hulu’s “The Bear.” She questions Haley, now referred to as Ambassador Haley, about the root cause of the American Civil War. The candidate, during a town hall in December in New Hampshire, was asked about the reason for the war, and she did not mention slavery in her response. She walked back her comments hours later.

“I was just curious, what would you say was the main cause of the Civil War?” Edebiri asked Haley during the show. “Do you think it starts with an ‘S’ and ends with a ‘lavery’?”

Haley replied: “Yep, I probably should have said that the first time,” before saying, “And live from New York, it’s ‘Saturday Night.’

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