Nikki Haley Called Out Donald Trump During Her State of the Union Response

All without ever saying his name. Impressive.

Nikki Haley
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In his final State of the Union address (opens in new tab), President Obama called on Americans of all parties to put aside their differences and work together. But what was really unexpected was the Republican response, which actually agreed with Obama on this—and then took a few jabs at its party's own frontrunner.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, often considered a front-runner for vice president, delivered the response (opens in new tab) Tuesday night. And though she didn't name names, everybody knew who she was talking about. She talked about her own experience as the daughter of Indian immigrants, and said that even though the U.S. needs to fight illegal immigration, "no one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country." And then she called out politicians (cough, Trump) who are more bluster than substance: 

In an interview with the Today show (opens in new tab) Wednesday morning, she confirmed that yup, she was talking about Trump, and she isn't backing down. "Mr. Trump has definitely contributed to what I think is just irresponsible talk," she said. But she added that he's not the only person using volume, not content, to get what he wants. "There's other people in the media, there's people in my state, I think we're seeing it across the country," she said. 

In her speech, she said both Republicans and Democrats need to take a hard look at today's politics to figure out how to move forward. And no matter which party you belong to, that seems like sound advice. Watch her full speech below:

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Megan Friedman
Megan Friedman

Megan Friedman is the former managing editor of the Newsroom at Hearst. She's worked at NBC and Time, and is a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.