Nikki Haley defends Trump, calls herself a 'bad***' in CBS interview

Days before it even aired, Nikki Haley’s interview with Norah O’Donnell for CBS Sunday Morning had riled up the likes of John Legend, who slammed the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for likening Donald Trump’s potential impeachment to the death penalty in a preview for the segment.

On Sunday, Haley’s interview aired in full. In it, the former South Carolina governor and author of the new book With All Due Respect defended the president over his ongoing impeachment inquiry. Haley insisted that the partial transcripts of his phone calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky show no wrongdoing or quid pro quo on his part.

“No! For what?” she responded when O’Donnell asked if she thinks Trump will be impeached. “You’re going to impeach a president for asking a favor that didn’t happen and giving money and it wasn’t withheld? I don’t know what you would impeach him on.”

She went on to call impeachment “the death penalty for a public official” and said that the transcript — which O’Donnell noted was not released in full — did not “warrant the death penalty for the president.”

Nikki Haley defended Trump on impeachment and immigration in a CBS interview. (Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, also addressed Trump’s attacks on “The Squad” — Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Rep. Rashida Tlaib — whom he told to “go back” to the “crime-infested” places from which they came; three of the four women were born in the U.S. and all are American citizens.

“It’s not appropriate,” Haley said of his remarks. “But I also can appreciate where he was coming from, from the standpoint of: Don’t bash America over and over and over again and not do something to try and fix it.”

While she professes loyalty to the president — refusing, for instance, to join an attempt she claims former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former Chief of Staff John Kelly made to thwart Trump in order to “save the country” — the interview notes that she was once a vocal critic of Trump.

“I have always kicked with a smile,” she told O’Donnell of her “bless your heart” clapbacks. “I’ve always said I wear high heels and it’s not for a fashion statement. It’s when I see something wrong, I’m going to kick every time.”

It’s no wonder, then, that she prefers to be called a “badass” rather than be labeled with an adjective common to women in politics.

“When women are referred to as ambitious, it’s never in a positive light,” she explained.

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