South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley blasted the Black Lives Matter movement Wednesday for inflaming racial tensions that saw American cities such as Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, vandalized in the last year. Instead of rioting and screaming at police officers, activists should learn from the example set by black and white residents and officials in South Carolina, where an unarmed black man was killed by police and a hate-fueled shooting unfolded at a historically black church this year, said Haley in a sweeping speech on race and inequality at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
“Black lives do matter, and they have been disgracefully jeopardized by the movement that has laid waste to Ferguson and Baltimore,” Haley said of the social justice group that has spread around the country in the last year. “Most of the people who now live in terror because local police are too intimidated to do their jobs are black.”
The provocative remarks came as the Republican governor’s national political profile has been on the rise. Haley became more prominent after her leadership on removing the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina State House after the racially motivated June 17 shooting at a Charleston church.