Presidential candidate Nikki Haley faced blowback earlier this week from both Republicans and Democrats on how she answered a question about the Civil War during a town hall event in New Hampshire. Fellow presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy answered the same question during a campaign event in Iowa on Thursday, prompting a different response online.
When asked on Wednesday, “What was the cause of the United States Civil War?” Haley responded, “I think the cause of the Civil War was basically, how government was going to run — the freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do.”
Republican Florida Rep. Byron Donalds responded to Haley’s answer on X Thursday morning, “1. Psst Nikki… the answer is slavery PERIOD. 2. This really doesn’t matter because Trump is going to be the nominee. Trump 2024!”
President Joe Biden also chimed in through an X post on Wednesday, “It was about slavery.”
Even Haley attempted to walk back her comments on Thursday.
At the campaign event in Iowa, an audience member asked Ramaswamy the same question that was posed to Haley the day before and asked for thoughts on “if we’re headed to another one, possibly.”
Ramaswamy laughed and said, “You know, you have a governor of South Carolina who doesn’t know much about the history of her own state.”
Ramaswamy says slavery caused the Civil War ‘to boil over’
He said, “But South Carolina in 1832 — it’s one of the things we learned in history class in 11th grade — they actually were gonna secede from the Union. We’re talking nearly a couple decades before the Civil War.”
“This comes back to the present,” he continued. “Our history isn’t about our past, it’s about our understanding of our future. So they actually, in 1832 were about to secede. Back then it was about tariffs between the North and South, but ultimately the thing that boiled us over was slavery.”
The presidential candidate explained how even though the United States was one single country at the time, the North and the South had value systems that were fundamentally different. “So the powder keg was in the air, slavery was the match that we lit that caused it to boil over,” he said.
Ramaswamy compared the differing value systems to what he believes exists in the U.S. today. He ended his response by explaining the necessity of having a president “from the outside” who isn’t “susceptible to the special interests that got us to where we are.” He also added that the future president should be someone from the next generation.
One X user responded to Ramaswamy’s answer, saying, “@VivekGRamaswamy is making more sense than the others and he does it in a civil tone, and logical manner. Regardless if you support his candidacy or not, we as a nation, as a society, need more of this. Two thumbs up.”
Chris Christie says Haley’s response is an indicator for future confrontation
Another Republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie, commented on Haley’s response at a campaign event in New Hampshire on Wednesday, saying it indicates she prioritizes appeasing different political constituents over “telling the truth.”
He said, “If she is unwilling to stand up and say that slavery is what caused the Civil War because she’s afraid of offending constituents in other parts of the country … what’s going to happen when she has to stand up to Vladimir Putin and President Xi?”