In a Wednesday morning appearance on the "Today" show, Haley cleared up any doubts. "Mr. Trump has definitely contributed to what I think is just irresponsible talk," Haley told co-host Matt Lauer. "There's other people in the media, there's people in my state, I think we're seeing it across the country."
The backlash to Haley's speech was limited and demonstrated — once again — a division in the Republican Party between those who view Trump as a problem and those who see him as a defender of traditional Americanism. No prominent elected official criticized Haley, leaving the lead role to author and pundit Ann Coulter.
Breitbart, the conservative news website that has regularly defended Trump against the "establishment" of the GOP, made Haley's comment its lead story through the night. And Breitbart writers took to — where else? — Twitter.
But anyone searching beyond those voices, or the "alternative right" of pro-Trump nationalists, would have come up short on Haley criticism. Erick Erickson, former RedState editor who uninvited Trump from its annual conference this fall, quickly opined that "Nikki Haley became the only logical choice for Vice Presidential nominee of the GOP" with the speech.
Jeb Bush, the fading "establishment" candidate who has taken it upon himself to critique Trump, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Haley had given a "remarkable" speech "about a more broader, hopeful, optimistic Republican message, a conservative message that draws people, the great diversity of our country, towards our cause."
A spokesman for Trump's campaign did not answer a question Tuesday evening from the The Washington Post about the remarks. But in a campaign that has defied the rules of gravity and gaffes, Trump stumbled when seeming to attack women in gendered terms, or attack Republicans who have credibility in the party.
Haley, whose fights with the labor movement and role in removing the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds this past summer have made her a national figure, would be a riskier target for Trump's disdain than any candidate running against him.