On Sunday, the former U.N. ambassador explained she didn’t mean to sound as if she approved of the idea of secession: “What I said is, when government stops listening, let’s remember states’ rights matter. You have to be as close to the people as possible. No one is talking about seceding. That’s not an issue at all.”

Haley is the former governor of South Carolina, the first state to secede after the election of President Abraham Lincoln in 1860, a move that sparked the Civil War. The idea that secession was something American states could attempt has often been credited to John Calhoun, a South Carolinian who served as U.S. vice president under both President John Quincy Adams and President Andrew Jackson.

Secession talk periodically flares up in Texas, and the most recent discussion has come up about because of battles over Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to use razor-wire fencing to block those attempting to cross into Texas from Mexico. Abbott has defied a
U.S. Supreme Court ruling that granted Border Patrol agents the right to remove that wire.

Abbott has cited the “imminent danger” referenced in Article 1, Section 10-3, of the Constitution, to justify nullifying a Supreme Court ruling. That text reads: “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”

For her part, Haley was sympathetic to Abbott’s situation.

“Texans are frustrated, and rightfully so,” she told Bash. “Governor Abbott’s frustrated, and rightfully so. When have you ever seen a president not support a governor when they’re trying to keep their people safe? It’s a real problem.”

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