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President Donald Trump appears at a Gov. Henry McMaster campaign event at Airport High School in Cayce, S.C. near Columbia,Monday, June 25, 2018. Andrew J. Whitaker/Staff

It was never a secret that Henry McMaster wanted to be governor of South Carolina, but a new political book details for the first time how President Donald Trump may have helped make it happen.

According to excerpts from Tim Alberta's forthcoming book "American Carnage," McMaster reportedly told Trump in November 2016, months after becoming the first statewide official in the country to endorse Trump, that he wanted to be governor of the Palmetto State.

"That's it?" Trump said. "Well that should be easy. You're already the lieutenant governor!"

But there was one major obstacle: Nikki Haley.

The Washington Post, which obtained an advance copy of the book before its Tuesday debut, reported on Thursday that McMaster confided in Trump that he could only become governor if Haley were not around.

"Within days, seemingly out of left field, Trump announced Haley as his pick for ambassador to the United Nations," Alberta writes.

A request for comment from the governor's office was not immediately returned.

Haley, however, decided to weigh in on the book's findings after a former South Carolina lawmaker decided to take a shot at her on social media.

"You mean to tell me that wasn’t qualified to be UN Ambassador? Get out. 'I’m shocked—SHOCKED—that there is gambling going on in here!'" tweeted Boyd Brown, a former Democratic state lawmaker who was in the legislature while Haley was governor. 

"Well hello Boyd. I see some things never change," Haley tweeted back.

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Haley, who stepped down from her role at the United Nations in January, has a book of her own coming out on Nov. 12 which is expected to give her side of the story on how she ascended to the UN.

"With All Due Respect" will look back at Haley's final years in the South Carolina governor's office, as well as her experience as United States ambassador.

Alberta's book, which explores the ideological war which was happening inside the Republican Party leading up to Trump's election, gives other details of interest to South Carolina political junkies.

Alberta writes in the book that Madeleine Westerhout, a College of Charleston graduate who works as Trump's executive assistant in the White House, was "inconsolable" on the night her now-boss was elected. 

In another moment, Alberta says Mick Mulvaney, who is now Trump's acting chief of staff, told his fellow state lawmakers in 2016 that he had read "The Art of the Deal" in preparation for the new administration.

Reach Caitlin Byrd at 843-937-5590 and follow her on Twitter @MaryCaitlinByrd.

Political Reporter

Caitlin Byrd is a political reporter at The Post and Courier and author of the Palmetto Politics newsletter. Before moving to Charleston in 2016, her byline appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times. To date, Byrd has won 17 awards for her work.