Nikki Haley ‘disappointed’ Donald Trump has resorted to personal attacks

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley (PROVIDED)

Speaking at a gathering of Republican governors in Aspen, Colo., South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said she was “disappointed” real estate mogul Donald Trump had resorted to personal attacks in his pursuit of the GOP presidential nomination.

Haley was in Aspen on Tuesday for the Republican Governors Association’s Executive Roundtable quarterly meeting at the Aspen Institute.

When Trump’s candidacy came up, she noted he was a friend and a supporter, but that she was “disappointed in him” for attacking “everybody personally.” She said she wanted a presidential candidate who is a fighter, but a fighter for the people.

“It’s wrong, it’s wrong,” said Haley. “Freedom of speech, I will always fight for freedom of speech, but he is creating a very combative tone in a time where we really need to be able to vet our candidates and every day I feel like I’m hearing Mr. Trump attack another person personally.

“That’s not what we need in a presidential race. Not in a Democratic primary, not in a Republican primary, not in this presidential primary.”

During his swing through Bluffton on Tuesday, Trump called South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who also is running for the White House, a “lightweight,” and gave out Graham’s personal cellphone number.

Graham had earlier referred to Trump as a “jackass” for saying Graham’s friend, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, isn’t a hero for being taken prisoner during the Vietnam War and surviving five years of captivity and torture.

Addressing illegal immigration, another topic on which Trump has been critical of the Obama administration and other Republican candidates, Haley said those in the country without documentation shouldn’t be labeled criminals.

“They’re families that want a better life and they’re desperate to get here,” Haley said. “What we need to do is make sure that we have a set of laws that we follow. Tone and communication matters, and people matter. And we don’t ever need to talk about this in a cold-blooded way.”

Reach Cynthia Roldan at 708-5891.