During a speech on Thursday, outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley urged people not to view their political opponents as “evil” or “enemies.”
What did Haley say about 'true evil'?
“We've had some fun tonight poking fun at ourselves and at our political rivals.” Haley said, addressing attendees at the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner. “But I really do want to share something I believe is important. I say it a lot when I speak to high school students and to college students.”
Haley went on to contrast politics in America to what she described as “true evil” that she had seen around the world during her tenure as U.N. ambassador.
In our toxic political environment, I've heard some people in both parties describe their opponents as enemies or evil. In America, our political opponents are not evil.
In South Sudan, where rape is routinely used as a weapon of war — that is evil. In Syria, where the dictator uses chemical weapons to murder innocent children — that is evil. In North Korea, where American student Otto Warmbier was tortured to death — that was evil.
In the last two years, I've seen true evil. We have some serious political differences here at home. But our opponents are not evil. They're just our opponents. We are blessed with a political system that allows us to resolve our differences peacefully. In the end, we must recognize that we are all Americans. And we are stronger and healthier when we are united.
Haley was the keynote speaker at this year's Alfred E. Smith Memorial dinner. Keynote speakers for previous years have included House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (2017), President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton (2016), Michael Bloomberg (2015), and former President Barack Obama and then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney (2012).
The dinner's namesake, Alfred E. Smith, was the former governor of New York 1923 to 1928. He was the first Catholic to become a major party candidate for president (running as a Democrat), although he lost the 1928 general election to Herbert Hoover who had the benefit of following the popular presidency of Republican Calvin Coolidge.