The Republican presidential candidate addressed her previous town hall comments on the Civil War
Nikki Haley made a surprise appearance during this weekend's Saturday Night Live cold open, where she went back-and-forth with James Austin Johnson's portrayal of Donald Trump and referenced her December controversy over her comments about the Civil War.
The Republican presidential candidate, 52, announced the classic "live from New York" line at the start of the show Saturday, after appearing in a sketch that referenced her town hall controversy late last year, in which she failed to mention the word "slavery" when asked about the cause of the Civil War.
The former South Carolina governor appeared during the show's "CNN Republican Presidential Town Hall" sketch alongside Punkie Johnson's Gayle King, Kenan Thompson's Charles Barkley and Johnson's Trump.
The skit itself was set during a South Carolina town hall, where prospective voters asked Johnson's portrayal of the former president questions. Later in the clip, Haley herself appeared, asking the fictional Trump why he won't "debate Nikki Haley."
"Oh my God, it's her. The woman who was in charge of security on Jan. 6," Johnson responded as Trump. "It's Nancy Pelosi!"
After some clarification from Thompson's Barkley, Haley then quipped: "Are you doing OK, Donald? You might need a mental competency test."
"You know what, I did, I took the test and I aced it, OK," he responded. "Perfect score, they said I'm 100% mental. And I'm competent because I'm a man, that's why a woman shouldn't ever run our economy. Women are terrible with money. In fact, a woman I know asked me recently for $83.3 million."
Haley and Johnson's Trump then continued their back-and-forth about past election results and Trump's age, before SNL host and Emmy winner Ayo Edebiri had a question of her own for Haley.
"I was just curious what would you say was the main cause of the Civil War?" Edebiri, 28, asked the politician. "Um, and do you think it starts with an ‘s’ and ends with a ‘lavery’?"
"Yep, I probably should’ve said that the first time," Haley responded, before introducing the show: "And live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!"
The skit, which has led to backlash on social media over Haley's appearance on the show, arrived over a month after Haley failed to mention slavery when asked about the cause of the Civil War in December.
A rep for Saturday Night Live did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment on Sunday. The show itself has a long history of having political candidates on air from across the political spectrum.
During the December town hall, Haley argued the cause of the Civil War was "basically how government was going to run, the freedoms, and what people could and couldn't do." After further explanation, a town hall attendee asked Haley about slavery specifically, to which she replied, "What do you want me to say about slavery?" before adding, "Next question."
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The Republican candidate has since acknowledged that the Civil War was fought over slavery, when she said that same week on a New Hampshire radio show that it was "of course" about slavery.
“I want to nip it in the bud. Yes, we know the Civil War was about slavery. But more than that, what’s the lesson in all this?” Haley said at the time. “That freedom matters. And individual rights and liberties matter for all people. That’s the blessing of America. That was a stain on America when we had slavery. But what we want is [to] never relive it, never let anyone take those freedoms away again.”
Haley has since made headlines for asserting in a January interview with Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade that America has "never been a racist country" while discussing how she experienced racism growing up as a child of Indian immigrants. A Haley campaign spokesman later told CNN that "America has always had racism, but America has never been a racist country."
During an episode of The View last month, Vice President Kamala Harris was asked about Haley's comments. "The history of racism in America should never be the subject of a soundbite, or a question that is meant to elicit a one-sentence answer," Harris said. "But there is no denying ... that racism has played a role in the history of our nation."
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