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Nikki Haley Riffs on Trump, NYC Mayor at Charity Dinner

She also says political opponents shouldn't be deemed 'evil'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2018 8:49 AM CDT
Keynote speaker Nikki Haley is introduced as she attends the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner on Thursday in New York.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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(Newser) – If anyone was looking for hints as to why Nikki Haley is leaving her UN ambassador post, they wouldn't have found it during her appearance at the annual Al Smith charity dinner Thursday night. What Haley did bring to the roast were plenty of jokes about herself and President Trump in what the New York Times calls a "let-loose opportunity" for the 46-year-old. Surrounded at NYC's Hilton by big political, financial, and media names such as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and TV journo Maria Bartiromo, Haley said Trump once asked if, because of her Indian heritage, she came from the same tribe as Elizabeth Warren; relayed that the president had told her to "just brag about [his] accomplishments" at the dinner; and confessed that, as part of the Trump administration, it was "a thrill to be out to dinner without being harassed."

She also riffed on Mayor Bill de Blasio, noting she must've gotten his drink because it had "no ice," a slam on his calls to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, per NBC News. Haley did get serious in her 17-minute turn at the podium, including when she touched upon civility in the US. "In our toxic political environment, I've heard some people in both parties describe their opponents as enemies or evil," she said. "In America, our political opponents are not evil," she added, citing chemical weapons used in Syria and the torture of Otto Warmbier in North Korea as true evil. As for her own presidential ambitions, she broached that with another joke, one that NBC says drew some groans: "It is way too early for anyone to be thinking about running for president—unless you're a Senate Democrat during the Kavanaugh hearings." (Ivanka Trump says she won't replace Haley.)

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