US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has acknowledged that he is one of “angriest voices” in America, but said that is a good thing for the country.
Nikki Haley, the Republican governor of South Carolina who is widely believed to be a leading contender for the GOP vice presidential nomination, called on Americans not to listen to “the siren of the angriest voices.”
She made the comment on Tuesday in her rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Haley later confirmed that she was talking about Trump.
Trump responded Wednesday that he is angry because of the way the country is being run. “She is right. I am angry, and a lot of other people are angry too at how incompetently our country’s being run,” he said on CNN.
“I don’t care, let her refer to me. As far as I’m concerned, anger and energy is what this country needs,” he continued.
The billionaire businessman said he would consider Haley for vice president if he wins the Republican nomination, but called her “weak on the subject of illegal immigration.”
Haley has previously condemned Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States. “It defies everything that this country was based on and it’s just wrong,” she said in December.
Trump’s presidential campaign has been defined by controversy from the beginning, with inflammatory statements directed against immigrants, Muslims and women.
In his seventh and last State of the Union address on Tuesday, Obama called on Americans to be mindful about who they will pick to succeed him into the White House.
Without uttering Trump’s name, Obama on several occasions denounced the GOP front-runner’s divisive rhetoric.
“As frustration grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us, or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background,” he said.