Did Henry McMaster ask then-president-elect Donald Trump to "do a little favor for him"? File/AP

So, when President Donald Trump made Nikki Haley an offer she couldn’t refuse, he may have been settling some family business.

The Washington Post has obtained a copy of “American Carnage” by Politico chief political correspondent Tim Alberta, which is an alternately flattering and damning look at the ascendance of Trump.

The Post story recounts, without sourcing, a scene from the book in which then-Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster tells the president-elect he wants to be governor of South Carolina. You know, as repayment for being the first statewide official in the country to endorse Trump.

“That’s it?” Trump replied, according to the book. “Well that should be easy. You’re already the lieutenant governor!”

The Post’s Josh Dawsey summarizes McMaster’s response, as alleged in the book, this way:

“McMaster explained that it was not so easy — and that he could only become governor if Nikki Haley were not around. ‘Within days, seemingly out of left field, Trump announced Haley as his pick for ambassador to the United Nations.’ ”

This is a new account of an alleged deal that South Carolina has been whispering about for more than two years ... because everyone knows Haley wasn't Trump's biggest fan during the 2016 election, yet he gave her a high-profile, career-defining job.

This version of the tale is both hilarious and disturbing. Since, you know, “not around” is a dangerous phrase to use in front of guys from New York.

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Whether the account is true or not, McMaster did become governor. And Haley went on to the United Nations, where she distinguished herself and built up her brand so well that she could wind up as president in 2024.

Which was the kindest, gentlest way of making sure Haley “wasn’t around.”

Much better than a scenario that ends with “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”

Reach Brian Hicks at

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