A slate of racially and ethnically diverse speakers at the Republican National Convention quickly prompted a wave of racially charged attacks.
Critics ranging from Hollywood actresses to CNN and MSNBC contributors directed attacks at Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Republican Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, football legend Herschel Walker and First Lady Melania Trump, among others. (RELATED: ‘Democrats Always Blame America First’: Nikki Haley Invokes Reagan Ambassador At RNC)
During the first night of the convention, when both Scott and Haley took the stage, CNN commentator Nia Malika Henderson suggested that they were being used to make the GOP appear diverse while still being “all about” white people.
“It’s sort of an indirect appeal to white voters when you kind of put black issues, black people, black Republicans front and center, as we saw happen tonight,” Henderson began. “Nikki Haley, obviously a woman of color and Tim Scott and a couple of other African Americans. I mean, on the whole the party isn’t very diverse. It seemed a little diverse tonight with Tim Scott making that final sort of key note address and Nikki Haley making a kind of key note address.”
Henderson went on to allege that the RNC was putting up a diverse slate of speakers and issues in an effort to convince moderate white voters that they could be “comfortable” in their support for President Donald Trump.
And the attacks started rolling in for Scott (and Walker):
Watching the RNC, I have a question. Is your only frame of reference for Black people Tim Scott, Herschel Walker and criminality?
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) August 26, 2020
Tim Scott is a member of Strom Thurmond’s party and he supports Trump. Nuf said.
— Maya Wiley (@mayawiley) August 25, 2020
Tim Scott is knocking Biden’s gaffes, his crime bill and his mistakes with black communities, but he is saying this with a straight face as he praises DONALD TRUMP, the most racist President we’ve had in our lives.
Tim Scott….bro. Bro. Bro.
— Wajahat “Wears a Mask Because of a Pandemic” Ali (@WajahatAli) August 25, 2020
Senator Tim Scott has spent the past four years going on CNN explaining away Trump’s every racist statement and action. #RNCConvention2020
— JeremyNewberger (@jeremynewberger) August 25, 2020
Haley was primarily attacked for her statement claiming that “America is not a racist country,” and critics suggested that racism was the reason she went by her nickname — Nikki — rather than her full given name, Nimrata.
Uhhh Nikki Haley is the daughter of Ajit Singh Randhawa and Raj Kaur Randhawa pic.twitter.com/13XbIrOuXB
— Peter J. Hasson (@peterjhasson) August 25, 2020
Nimrata Nikki Haley’s invoking her “brown child in a black and white world” narrative just doesn’t sit well when she sat silent while brown children were put in cages. https://t.co/24oEn2EnqC
— Kavita Patel M.D. (@kavitapmd) August 25, 2020
Right. Is that why you went from going by Nimrata to “Nikki”? https://t.co/buGFcY48gQ
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) August 25, 2020
But as some were quick to note, “Nikki” is actually a Punjabi nickname that means “little one.”
America’s 29th Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, was born Nimrata Randhawa. As the younger child in the house, she was called “نکی” by her Punjabi parents in the house, which became her nickname i.e. Nikki Haley.
— Umar Saif (@umarsaif) August 25, 2020
The little girl on the left was born in Bamberg, South Carolina to immigrant parents. They named her “Nikki” which means “little one” in Punjabi. Running as a Republican, @NikkiHaley became the first woman to serve as Governor of South Carolina. pic.twitter.com/Km9FJL4XJA
— David Shafer (@DavidShafer) August 25, 2020
Daniel Cameron, the GOP AG in KY, says Biden is promising more to illegal immigrants than American citizens. That’s a lie. A racist lie.
See, the fact that you’re a person of color doesn’t mean you can’t make racist remarks, too.
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) August 26, 2020
Here we go. Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron – who has yet to prosecute the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor – speaking well and truly from the sunken place. pic.twitter.com/YRcKer1zRU
— alexander hodge 小龍 (@xrhodge) August 26, 2020
This is Daniel Cameron, the former Black man and attorney general of Kentucky who chose not to do anything about Breonna Taylor’s murder but just name dropped her during his speech at the RNC in support of Trump.
— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) August 26, 2020
“im one of the good ones, boss” pic.twitter.com/vpzZt8VEDf
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) August 26, 2020
And First Lady Melania Trump:
because our presidential downgrade was so severe i dont think we’ve fully discussed how much the first lady position downgraded as well
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) August 26, 2020
Oh, God. She still can’t speak English.
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) August 26, 2020
The third night of the RNC is set to kick off Wednesday.