Resurfaced clip shows Nikki Haley saying states can secede from US

Nikki Haley, the newest contender for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination next year, once said that she believes states have the right to secede from the United States.

In a 2010 interview with the pro-Confederacy group Sons of Confederate Veterans, Ms Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, was asked directly whether states have the right to secede.

“I think that they do, I mean, the Constitution says that,” Ms Haley said.

Ms Haley was then asked, if it became a live issue, whether she would lead South Carolina out of the union. Ms Haley replied that she didn’t think “it would get to that point.”

The resurfaced video was posted on Twitter on Tuesday evening by Patriot Takes, an anonymous, pro-democracy social media account that also runs a fundraising PAC. Tyler Jones, a South Carolina political strategist, also tweeted clips from the interview.

Later in the conversation with the pro-Confederate group, Ms Haley was asked for her thoughts on the cause of the Civil War. Historians agree that the Civil War was fought over slavery, with states like South Carolina seeking to preserve the institution, but Ms Haley framed the conflict in rather less blunt terms.

“I think you had one side of the Civil War that was fighting for tradition and another side of the Civil War that was fighting for change,” she said. “At the end of the day, I think what we need to remember is everyone is supposed to have their rights, everyone is supposed to be free, everyone is supposed to have the same freedoms as anyone else, so I think it was tradition versus change is the way that I see it.”

Ms Haley also says in the interview that she would support a Confederate History Month in South Carolina as long as it wasn’t meant to “harm” anyone.

“It’s part of tradition, and so when you look at that, the same as you have Black History Month and you have Confederate History Month, and all of those, as long as it’s done where it’s in a positive way and not in a negative way and it doesn’t go to harm anyone and it goes back to the traditions that wanted to celebrate it, then I think it’s fine,” Ms Haley said.

Ms Haley also told the group that the Confederate flag “is not something that is racist,” and that she would work to educate people about the state’s “heritage.”

The scrunity of Ms Haley’s past remarks comes in the wake of her announcement that she is seeking the Republican nomination for president. She held her first campaign event in Charleston on Wednesday morning, telling the assembled crowd that her party needs new leadership to retake the White House.

Ms Haley, who served as United Nations ambassador under former President Donald Trump, is not a polling favourite to win the nomination. Mr Trump and Gov Ron DeSantis of Florida lead in early surveys of the nominating contest.