Nikki Haley, Foster Parent Association
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Photo credit: Gov. Nikki R. Haley / Wikimedia

Donald Trump this week unveiled his latest strategy against former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, the one person left standing between him and the GOP nomination.

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What’s in a name? If that name is Nimarata and coming out of the mouth of Donald Trump or one of his acolytes, then it’s pure and unadulterated racism. 

Over the past few days, the former president and some of his bootlickers have resorted to using different versions of Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s original first name, calling her “Nimbra” on multiple occasions. He also referred to her as “Nimrada” on Truth Social

Since the former president isn’t known to be a world-class speller, it’s pretty clear to whom he was referring and, more importantly, what he was trying to accomplish: to remind Republican voters that Haley is one of the “others.”

She was born in the US Nimarata Nikki Randhawa but has always gone by her middle name. Since Donald Trump is not subtle when it comes to his political attacks — or his racism, for that matter — it is pretty obvious why he is using the more foreign-sounding name. It is especially apparent because he also suggested that she is ineligible to run for president. 

With this line of attack, which, by the way, has no basis in fact, Trump is revisiting the same conspiracy theory that propelled him onto the national political stage and endeared him to racist Republicans. He first raised the issue of whether a candidate was eligible to run for the presidency when he became the most famous of the so-called birthers, who just as falsely claimed that Barack Obama was constitutionally barred from holding the nation’s highest office because he was born in Kenya. 

For years, Trump called on Obama to produce his long-form birth certificate to prove that he was born in Hawaii, which the then-president eventually did. But by then, Trump had earned the right-wing street cred that he would eventually parlay into the 2016 Republican nomination. Therefore it is not at all surprising that he is bringing back this racist tactic. Essentially it’s like an aging band playing its greatest hits, which, in Trump’s case, would be “Lock Her Up,” “Build That Wall,” and “Obama Was Born in Kenya.” And the MAGAverse is still clamoring to hear them all. 

That is evidenced by the fact that it didn’t take long for some of Trump’s most loyal supporters to follow the former president’s lead. For example, Arizona Senate hopeful Kari Lake (R) addressed Haley as “Nimrata” in a tweet on Sunday. 

While Haley tried not to make a big deal out of this, these dog whistles didn’t sit well with some other lawmakers. For example, Indian American Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) blasted the former president: “Trump knows what he’s doing, and it’s critical we push back on his birther lies and his legally wrong, fundamentally racist view of what it means to be an American,” he said.

The lawmaker shouldn’t hold his breath on that one, though… because racism is kinda Trump’s thing. 


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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