CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Statements about China from former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, now running for the Republican presidential nomination, are being called “misleading” by a leading media organization.
The Washington Post recently rated a statement on Chinese investment in South Carolina from Haley as “four Pinocchios.”
In a town hall in Iowa earlier this month, Haley was asked this question:
“I saw something on the Internet that said you gave China thousands of acres of land in South Carolina. Why would you do that?”
“Well, I would tell you, ‘Don’t believe what you read on the internet,’” responded Haley. “We didn’t sell land to the Chinese. But yes, I recruited a fiberglass plant.”
The Post noted that statement was misleading, and reported that the fiberglass plant in question was given land by the county which it now operates, and noted other Chinese investment in the state that has involved land deals through local governments during Haley’s time as South Carolina governor.
Since then, Haley has gone on to speak against Chinese investments, and has even called China “the enemy” in interviews. After her tenure as governor, she was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
“You’re going to see her opponents and critics really trying to dig stuff up on her to essentially attack her and not view her as flattering,” said Julia Manchester, national political reporter at Nexstar sister publication The Hill.
Manchester noted that despite some of the political dysfunction that has made headlines out of the 2024 race and in Washington, China is a key issue for voters.
“There’s a general negative feeling in the U.S. that China is an adversary,” said Manchester.
Haley’s campaign responded to the Washington Post for their story on the statement, saying in part that manufacturing jobs are different than something that is perceived like a security threat, such as a land deal near a military base.
Political experts noted that this issue will likely be a debate and campaign issue for any governor running for higher office.
“This is not a Nikki Haley problem,” said Dr. Chris Cooper with Western Carolina University. “This is a much bigger problem for how much we want money from China and how much we want to keep China away from the states in other ways.”
The South Carolina Democratic Party weighed in via a spokesperson.
“Nikki Haley’s tough talk on China on the campaign trail doesn’t match up with her actual record of working with Chinese Communist business interests and parroting Donald Trump’s praise for the CCP as ambassador. While President Biden is bolstering America’s competitiveness with China, Haley’s weak record on the CCP won’t change no matter how much she tries to spin it – and voters are taking note.”
Queen City News reached out to the Haley campaign for a comment or further clarification on the Washington Post story, but did not receive a response by our deadline.