Video: Gov. Haley defends husband Michael Haley's comments
Video from Gov. Haley's YouTube channel (Note: Full video is 14 minutes; this embedded version begins at the 10 minute, 40 second mark.)
Gov. Nikki Haley said Tuesday that her husband was frustrated about senators sabotaging a reform bill she backed when he took to Facebook to compare their cowardice to the bravery of three S.C. National Guardsman killed in Afghanistan.
“He is a person, he is a citizen, he has the right to get frustrated,” Haley said at a news conference outside her office. “What I hope people do is put themselves in our shoes. What you saw was a husband who watched his wife for years try to move this state forward. And what he saw that day was the establishment stop a two-year tax-funded initiative that would make South Carolina better.” But Sen. Phil Leventis, a retired Air Force and Guard fighter pilot and general, said Michael Haley owes an apology to the dead soldiers’ families. Haley did not say Tuesday whether her husband would apologize for his remark.
Sen. Jake Knotts, a Lexington Republican who has butted heads with governor, said he has asked the leader of the National Guard to investigate Michael Haley’s comments since the first gentleman is a strategic plans and training officer for the guard.
Michael Haley made his post soon after the Senate adjourned Thursday and hours after the military announced three members of the Timmonsville-based 133rd Military Police Company were killed by a suicide bomber in Khost Province.
The post read: “It amazes me that in a week that we have heroes who have died fighting for our freedoms, we have cowards who are afraid to take a vote in the (S)enate.”
Gov. Haley has been pushing for a Department of Administration to replace the Budget and Control Board and would have given her more control over some government spending.
But the measure did not come up for a vote on the final day it could be considered because of political wrangling by Knotts and Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, Gov. Haley said.
She said her husband was in the midst of two weeks of military training in Texas when he learned the reform measure was going nowhere.
“He knew how important that day was to me, my staff, to the state, to the country that was watching to whether we were going to get restructuring,” the governor said. “So you tell me how a husband who just lost three of his fellow members in the military, who had just had dinner the night before with a double amputee who has been in therapy for two years, is supposed to feel when he sees that kind of action happen at the State House.”