South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley made a strong case for showing ID at voting polls by telling a packed National Press Club that those who say requiring ID to vote “is a racist attack on civil rights is wrong. I want everyone who is eligible to vote to vote."
At a National Press Club luncheon on Wednesday, Haley described the “disproportionate number of the poor, the elderly, and the disabled" who do not have a driver’s license or other means of photo identification. Haley then proudly noted that her state “offers free rides to local Department of Motor Vehicles [offices] to get a free voter ID.”
Presenting photo identification to vote is not a problem, she emphasized, “if you figure out ways to make it easy and free.”
She invited liberal black leaders to join her: "Anytime Rev. Jesse Jackson wants to do a voter registration drive [in South Carolina], I will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him.”
Haley also described how her state overcame its segregationist history and how South Carolinians came together without violence after the internationally watched shooting deaths of nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Columbia this June.
Calling on fellow Republicans to follow the example of the South Carolina GOP, Haley said, “if we scream less and listen more, we can make a lot of progress” among winning over black voters.
Asked whether she felt Donald Trump could soften the harsh side of his image by picking her as a running mate, the South Carolinian laughed and said, “there are 16 candidates [for president] and it’s a long way to go before that.”
“Mr. Trump is a supporter of mine, and I consider him a friend,” Haley added, saying that Trump has “tapped into a frustration among voters that is very real” much like fellow non-office-holders Carly Fiorna and Dr. Ben Carson.
But she took sharp exception to the tone of Trump’s recent controversial statements regarding immigrants. In her words, “so much talent came from legal immigrants, including my parents. We don’t need to attack.”
Haley did make it clear she felt the issue of illegal immigration was “extremely important” and candidates should this more substantively.
“Don’t say you’ll build a wall,” she told the Press Club audience, insisting candidates have to address whether to put troops on the ground, whether illegal immigrants will be detained and deported, the cost and the infrastructure involved.
Once candidates make clear they understand those points, “then they will be committed,” said Haley.
One of the three Republican governors who are women and one of the two governors who are Indian-American, Haley, 43, has also been widely mentioned as a vice presidential candidate with several of the GOP’s 2016 White House hopefuls.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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