Haley accuses Biden of giving ‘offensive’ speech at the church where racist mass shooting occurred


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Meg Kinnard, Associated Press

Nikki Haley campaigning in Des Moines, Iowa (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley took aim Monday night at the Democrat she’d like to face in the November election, calling it “offensive” that President Joe Biden gave “a political speech” at the South Carolina church where nine Black parishioners were slain in a 2015 racist attack.

“For Biden to show up there and give a political speech, it’s offensive in itself,” the former United Nations ambassador and South Carolina governor said during a town hall on Fox News in Des Moines, Iowa. “I don’t need someone who palled around with segregationists in the ‘70s and has said racist comments all the way through his career lecturing me or anyone in South Carolina about what it means to have racism, slavery, or anything related to the Civil War.”

Biden was in Haley’s home state Monday, delivering jabs at some of his possible GOP general election opponents without naming them. He took the pulpit at Mother Emanuel, a historic AME church in Charleston where nine Black parishioners were slain in June 2015 by a white gunman as they prayed during a Wednesday night Bible study.

As governor at the time of the shooting, Haley gained national attention for her response, which included signing legislation into law removing the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds. During her previous campaigns, Haley had advocated against removing the flag, portraying an opponent’s call to do so as a political stunt.

But Haley has been on the defensive for not explicitly naming slavery as the root cause of the Civil War when the question was posed at a campaign event. Her campaign responded Monday with a list of comments attributed to Biden that it said showed he’s racially insensitive.

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