The View co-host Sunny Hostin on Tuesday repeatedly accused former South Carolina Gov. of being a “chameleon,” suggesting the former Trump official is trying to hide her Indian heritage by going by her middle name.
Haley responded by blasting The View star as “racist” and pointing out that “Nikki” is an Indian name and is on her birth certificate. Furthermore, the Republican politician noted that Hostin—who is Afro-Latina—actually goes by a nickname rather than her birth name.
During Tuesday’s broadcast of the ABC talk show, newly minted conservative host Alyssa Farah Griffin hoped that Republicans would abandon former President Donald Trump and rally around conservatives like Haley and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). Hostin, however, took an opportunity to take a swipe at the ex-governor.
“Nikki Haley the chameleon and Liz Cheney the savior,” Hostin snarked.
Griffin then defended Haley as an “effective governor,” only for Hostin to shoot back: “What is her real name again?”
After Griffin noted that “a lot of people don’t go by their actual real names,” she added that Haley’s first name is Indian while admitting that she wasn’t sure what it was at that moment. (Haley’s given birth name is Nimrata Nikki Randhawa. She married Michael Haley in 1996.)
Continuing to hammer the former governor, Hostin then called on Haley to “lean into” being a woman of color. Co-host Sara Haines interjected at that point, focusing the discussion back on the list of potential GOP presidential candidates.
Moments later, Griffin circled back to the subject of Haley’s name, noting that the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has gone by Nikki since she was a child.
“I wouldn’t be shocked that as an Indian woman growing up in South Carolina at that time, she actually did that to avoid prejudice. So I just want to be careful about critiquing her for going by [Nikki],” the former Trump White House spokesperson added.
“There are some of us who can be chameleons and decide not to embrace our ethnicity so that we can pass,” Hostin retorted before Haines once again interjected.
“Sunny, I don’t think that’s fair, you go by a different name,” she exclaimed.
“I didn’t want to be the one that said it,” Griffin chimed in.
“That’s because most Americans can’t pronounce Asunción because of the undereducation in our culture,” Hostin replied, defending her personal use of a nickname.
“I’m just going to kill this conversation,” longtime moderator Whoopi Goldberg declared, cutting off the discussion. “I am authentically myself. I am Whoopi Goldberg, and we’ll be right back.”
Haley, however, wanted to keep the conversation going on Twitter, where she tore into Hostin while accusing her of hypocrisy.
“Thanks for your concern @Sunny,” Haley wrote, tagging Hostin’s official account. “It’s racist of you to judge my name.”
She continued, sharing a clip of Hostin’s remarks: “Nikki is an Indian name and is on my birth certificate—and I’m proud of that. What’s sad is the left’s hypocrisy towards conservative minorities. By the way, last I checked Sunny isn’t your birth name…”
Hostin recently took heat from conservatives—including on The View—for claiming “Black Republicans” are an “oxymoron.” The veteran View host has also slammed some of her colleagues as “complicit” in harming the country for sticking with the Republican Party, and accused CNN commentator Van Jones of being “chameleon” and giving “racial cover” to Trump.
In a somewhat ironic twist, Hostin’s remarks about Haley came out the same day that The Divider author Susan Glasser revealed that Trump rejected Haley as a potential running mate because he was concerned about her “complexion” and skin tone.