Nikki Haley and her communications spokesman fired back at Sunny Hostin on Tuesday after “The View” co-host accused the former U.N. ambassador of “running from her heritage.”
During a discussion on potential 2024 presidential candidates that could face off against President Biden, Alyssa Farah Griffin listed Haley as a possible opponent, calling her an “incredibly effective governor in South Carolina.”
Hostin interjected and described Haley as a “chameleon” before asking, “what is her real name again?” Griffin replied there are a lot of people in media and the U.S. that do not go by the exact name assigned to them at birth, as the women began talking over each other.
“I think if she leaned into being someone of color, this would be different,” Hostin continued. “There’s some of us that can be chameleons and decide not to embrace our ethnicity so that we can pass, that we don’t have to go by—”
Co-host Sara Haines then jumped in, pointing out that Hostin herself doesn’t go by her real name, which is actually Asunción Cummings “Sunny” Hostin. She is not the only woman on the ABC News show that goes by a nickname. Whoopi Goldberg’s real name is Caryn Johnson.
The exchange quickly made waves on social media, with many expressing outrage at Hostin’s comments and labeling them “racist.”
Haley appeared to agreee.
“Thanks for your concern, Sunny,” Haley wrote on Twitter. “It’s racist of you to judge my name. Nikki is an Indian name and is on my birth certificate – and I’m proud of that. What’s sad is the left’s hypocrisy towards conservative minorities. By the way, last I checked Sunny isn’t your birth name.”
Haley’s spokesman Ken Farnaso also called out Hostin and pointed to the irony of her concern about the politician’s name in a Tuesday tweet.
“Are we really going to play this (trashcan emoji) game, @Sunny? Nikki is an Indian name that means ‘little one.’ It’s @NikkiHaley’s middle name on her birth certificate. You should know better than this—you don’t even go by your first name,” he wrote on Twitter, attaching a picture of Hostin’s Wikipedia page.
Haley, whose parents both immigrated from India to the U.S., was given the name Nimarata Nikkki Randhawa and later married Michael Haley.
Asked about whether she may run in 2024, Haley told Fox News during a stop in New Hampshire in April that “I don’t have to make a decision until the first of next year. But I can tell you I’ve never lost a race. I’m not going to start now. I’ll put a thousand percent into it and finish it,” she said. “I’m going to fight for this country until my last breath because I believe in her, and I believe that we all have to be part of the solution.”