Nikki Haley Gets Busted On Lavish Vaca, Calls The Reporter A 'Little Girl'

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy This "little girl" gaffe ended up as fodder for the Rewrite of Lawrence O'Donnell's Last Word Monday night. Basically a journalist did some gumshoe reporting on Governor

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This "little girl" gaffe ended up as fodder for the Rewrite of Lawrence O'Donnell's Last Word Monday night. Basically a journalist did some gumshoe reporting on Governor Nikki Haley's French vacation:

Gov. Nikki Haley's weeklong trip to Europe in June in search of "jobs, jobs, jobs" cost South Carolinians more than $127,000. But the governor and her entourage of more than two dozen returned without any finished deals to bring new employers to the Palmetto State.

Haley, who captured the governor's office preaching fiscal restraint, spent the cash so she, her husband and the rest of the state's contingent could stay in five-star hotels; sip cocktails at the Paris Ritz; dine on what an invitation touted as "delicious French cuisine" at a swanky rooftop restaurant; and rub elbows with the U.S. Ambassador to France at his official residence near the French presidential palace.

Instead of asking for a correction (which is what's done when a newspaper gets something wrong), Haley went after the reporter on Laura Ingraham's radio show:

HALEY: God bless that little girl at the "Post and Courier." Her job is to try and create conflict. My job is to create jobs. In the end, I`m going to have jobs to show for it.

Yeah, the jobs created in France. Oui!

What Lawrence didn't cover is how horribly sexist and dismissive this is. This is perhaps the most deplorable thing you can say about a professional woman who challenges you. I'm immune to being called a dude, drag queen or tranny. When I say something funny, I'm often called a lesbian - a compliment to lesbians, for sure. The c-word, the b-word, and the w-word. Calling me ugly, fat, old, stupid, bimbo, ditzy, over-Botoxed etc. etc. etc. I don't even notice anymore. I write under my real name. I have a column that runs in over 85 newspapers and all over the Internets. If I didn't want to be personally insulted by technology empowered strangers, I'd go live in a cabin and tap out my manifesto on a word processor.


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But the phrase "little girl," (I've gotten, "silly little girl" twice in my professional career) its like no other. It's hard to think of anything more condescending than calling someone a feckless female child.

Yes, Republicans like to cry "feminist" when its suits them, but Haley sure loves the language of the "get back in the kitchen" crowd.

The great thing about her using the phrase is now her vacation is national news. Good going, Haley. It's a proud moment for "little girls" everywhere.

Full transcript of the clip above after the jump.

O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s Rewrite. Nikki Haley, the Republican governor of South Carolina and a rising star in the Republican party, is in trouble. She did something inappropriate to a little girl and she got caught doing it. Now she says she regrets it, but still hasn`t been able to bring herself to apologize either publicly or to the little girl.

Little girl`s name is Renee Dudley and she is 25 years old. What Haley did that Haley now calls inappropriate is call Renee Dudley a little girl. Because Haley didn`t like the article Renee Dudley wrote for Charleston, South Carolina`s "Daily Post and Courier," under the headline, "European Vacation or Legitimate Business?"

In the fully researched, meticulously reported piece, Renee Dudley revealed that Nikki Haley and her entourage spent at least -- at least 127,000 dollars on a trip to Europe in June, in search of, quote, "jobs, jobs, jobs."

The first place Nikki Haley decided to go to look for jobs for South Carolinians was, of course, Paris, a place that every Republican knows is full of people who want to set up businesses in South Carolina. Perhaps the "let`s go looking for jobs in Paris" strategy explains why Nikki Haley`s state has a higher unemployment rate than the national average, almost two full percentage points above the national average.

Renee Dudley`s reporting details how Nikki Haley chose to stay in five-star hotels and run up a bar bill at the Paris Ritz, provoking the South Carolina Democratic party chairman, Dick Harputlian (ph), to be quoted in Renee Dudley`s article as saying, Nikki Haley was, quote, "channeling Marie Antoinette."

On Laura Ingraham`s radio show, Nikki Haley said this when asked about Renee Dudley`s article.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: God bless that little girl at the "Post and Courier." Her job is to try and create conflict. My job is to create jobs. In the end, I`m going to have jobs to show for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Calling the reporter a little girl and thinking she was done with it did not sit well with South Carolinians. And so Nikki Haley had to put out a damage control statement that stopped short of an apology. "The story painted a grossly inaccurate picture and was unprofessionally done. But my `little girl` comment was inappropriate and I regret that. Everyone can have a bad day. I`ll forgive her bad story if she`ll forgive my poor choice of words."

Nikki Haley has yet to contest a single fact reported by Renee Dudley, not one word, not one sentence. She has not disputed anything in Renee Dudley`s original reporting.

Now I, for one, am not horrified by Haley`s average daily hotel bill on the European trip, or any of the expenses listed in Renee Dudley`s report, which, as I said, remains uncontested for accuracy. I actually think foreign travel by American government officials is a good thing.

I especially think Republicans need to learn more, a lot more about France, a country they normally use as a punch line of their empty headed, jingoistic jokes about the world we live in.

And I`m an admitted socialist in a country where people like Nikki Haley are simply socialism condemners, who constantly make socialistic choices and actually support socialistic programs. Government intervening in the marketplace is not a capitalist idea. Government inserting itself into the marketplace in a heavy-handed way, either through begging or special tax deals, trying to influence business decisions -- private business decisions, to suit the government`s current mood is a purely -- purely socialistic idea.

There is, at least, one Republican in South Carolina who understands this. South Carolina Republican State Senator Tom Davis said this in Renee Dudley`s article: "if you get the fundamental things right, solid education and health care, capital will come to the state."

Davis said "those are the functions of government, not creating jobs. It`s a socialist state when the government`s core function is to create jobs."

Well, at least he`s half right. He`s calling health care one of the functions of government, which is, of course, a purely socialistic idea about the functions of government. He doesn`t seem to realize that. But he`s right to say that making job creation government`s core function is a socialist idea.

It is one of the socialistic ideas that I`m happy to support if done modestly, with the recognition that the real burden of job creation will always belong to the private sector. If you want to see how horrible government is at making job creation a core function, get yourself into Cuba before the country opens itself to at least Chinese-style capitalism.

It would be too much for me to expect a Republican rising star to admit her and her party`s hypocrisy about socialism. And I guess it`s too much for me to expect a 39-year-old professional woman who happens to be a governor to apologize to a 25-year-old professional woman for calling her a "little girl" on a radio show hosted by a 47-year-old professional woman.

About Tina Dupuy

Tina Dupuy's picture
I write for Fast Company, The Atlantic, Mother Jones and LA Weekly among many (many) others. My weekly column is syndicated in these things called "newspapers," which are analog blogs 80-year-olds seem to enjoy.

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