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Nikki Haley pokes fun at her Indian roots  — and Elizabeth Warren’s

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Nikki Haley pokes fun at her Indian roots  — and Elizabeth Warren’s


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Outgoing U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley poked fun at her own Indian heritage, her boss and the current political climate at a white-tie gala in New York. (Oct. 18)
AP

Nikki Haley poked at President Donald Trump, Kanye West and attorney general Jeff Sessions Thursday night, and, as an Indian-American woman, sympathized with Elizabeth Warren’s recent DNA test.

The outgoing U.S.ambassador to the United Nations unleashed her barbs at the annual white-tie Al Smith dinner in New York City, where speakers are expected to zing political figures — including themselves.

The 46-year-old former governor of South Carolina said the Catholic charity invited her because they wanted “to spice things up” at this year’s dinner, after a “choir boy” appearance last year by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

“I get it. You wanted an Indian woman, but Elizabeth Warren failed her DNA test,” Haley joked.

“Actually, when the President found out that I was Indian-American, he asked if I was from the same tribe as Elizabeth Warren,” she added.

Warren, who has been pummeled by Trump for years as “Pocahontas” over her claims of Native American heritage, this week released the findings of a DNA test backing up her claims, but opening herself up to jokes.

Haley, a Republican star with possible presidential ambitions, said Trump, who spoke at the dinner two years ago, called to offer her some advice for her remarks.

“Just brag about my accomplishments,” she said he recommended. “It really killed at the U.N., I’ve got to tell you.”

While Haley did not offer any new insights into her unexpected decision to step down as U.N. ambassador, she did complain about fake news over the move, including one that said rapper Kanye West had been sworn in as her replacement. “Oh wait,” she quipped, “that could really happen.”

Returning to her ethnic roots, Haley said people often wonder if she felt different or isolated as an Indian-American growing up in rural South Carolina. “Actually,” she said, “there was a benefit. It totally prepared me for being a Republican in New York.”

Jabs aside, Haley also took advantage of the high-profile moment to offer her own assessment of the state of U.S. politics, noting that the “toxic political environment” has prompted politicians in both parties to “describe their opponents as enemies or evil.”

“In America, our political opponents are not evil,” Haley said.

Among her barbs:

♦ “People ask me all the time what they should call me — governor, ambassador, Nikki. You can call me anything, just don’t call me anonymous.”

♦ “I saw Jeff Sessions earlier today — not in New York. I saw him on LinkedIn looking for a job. Actually, we both were.”

♦ “I saw when recently (President Barack Obama) said that we’re not supposed to use the FBI or the Justice Department to punish political enemies. Comey, McCabe and Strzok said, now you tell us! Turns out what President Obama meant to say — ‘That’s what we use the IRS for.'”

♦ “The President got really mad about Woodward’s book, really mad. The book compared him to a fifth grader. A lot of Democrats seized on that, until they realized, they got beat by a fifth grader.”

Haley spoke to a high-powered crowd of some 700 people that included former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, CBS anchor Jeff Glor and Wall Street financier Stephen Schwarzman. It was hosted by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

The dinner, now in its seventh-decade, raised almost $4 million for the Catholic children’s charities this year.

The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation honors the late governor of New York and America’s first Catholic presidential nominee. 

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/10/19/nikki-haley-pokes-fun-her-indian-roots-and-elizabeth-warrens/1693748002/

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