The Chilling Implication Behind Nikki Haley’s Trump Remark


Authoritarianism expert Ruth Ben-Ghiat on Sunday said Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s refusal to condemn Donald Trump’s violent rhetoric showed America is “living through real-time preparation for an authoritarian crackdown.”

Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told Kristen Walker of NBC’s “Meet The Press” that Trump’s floating of the idea of executing retired Gen. Mark Milley, the former chair of the Joint Chiefs, was “irresponsible.”

But Haley claimed it wasn’t enough to disqualify Trump from running for the White House again.

“Apparently the idea of executing Milley is now the Party Line,” Ben-Ghiat, a history professor at New York University, commented on X, formerly Twitter.

“We are living through real-time preparation for an authoritarian crackdown,” she continued. “We are in a phase of ‘getting the public used to the idea of violence.’”

“Having authoritative voices like Haley endorse violence is key,” added the author of “Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present.”

Trump’s attack on Milley prompted the top military leader to take “safety precautions” for himself and his family. The comment drew sparse criticism from conservatives, however.

Four-times-indicted Trump remains the Republican 2024 front-runner, polling at around 57%. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is in second with 12% and Haley in third with 7%.

Haley has been suggested as a potential running mate for Trump, should he win the nomination. Other potential candidates for the role reportedly include far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

In June, Ben-Ghiat predicted Trump will “never leave” if he wins back the White House. “That’s very clear, because like all authoritarians, he needs to get back into power because he’s so corrupt and shut down all investigations,” she wrote at the time, describing the GOP as “an autocratic party operating in a democracy.”

Later, Ben-Ghiat warned Trump should be believed when he threatens to do things like obliterate the civil service and seize total control of government.

“Authoritarians always tell you what they are going to do as a kind of challenge and as a warning, and people don’t listen until it’s too late,” she said.


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