South Carolina AFL-CIO Leader Bashes Nikki Haley Pinata

May 22, 2012 3:47pm

Donna Dewitt, the outgoing president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, is seen in this video bashing a piñata of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s face while Dewitt and her colleagues were at a retreat in Columbia, S.C. Saturday afternoon.

 

“Well I will say, she looks like a tough old girl here,” Dewitt says as she gears up to swing at the piñata.

She repeatedly hits the piñata, which bears the phrase “Unions are not needed, wanted or welcome in South Carolina” below Haley’s face.  In her State of the State address this year, Haley said, “We’ll make the unions understand full well that they are not needed, not wanted and not welcome in the state of South Carolina.” Dewitt whacks the piñata down and continues to wail away at it once it’s fallen. Onlookers cheer her on, urging her to continue hitting the piñata.

“Give her another whack. Whack her again,” a woman screams.

“Hit her again” another man says.

Dewitt told ABC News she has no regrets about the incident and said there was “no ill intent” in what she was doing.  Dewitt said her colleagues brought the pinata and were using it as a “memoir” of Haley’s words and actions towards unions in her time as governor.

“They made it and I would have played the game with them no matter it would have been pin the tail on the donkey with Nikki Haley’s face on it.  I still would have played,” Dewitt told ABC News over the phone.  ”There was no ill intent.  We were certainly have a good time.  I’m not mad or angry.”

“We’ve been the brunt of her comments now for two years and that’s what the whole thing was.  She’s been whacking at us over the last two years,” Dewitt, who has been president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO for the past 16 years and will retire at the end of June, continued. “Anyone that knows me knows there was no ill intent at all.  Our folks don’t go to speeches with guns and things like that.  We have very loving people in our unions who will take up money for people or a vet.  We just heard these comments by the governor for over the two years.  They were using a memoir of the last two years I’ve lived under her leadership.”

“Kids use piñatas all the time,” she added.

Nikki Haley even reacted to the video, tweeting the link and this message: “Wow. I wonder if the unions think this kind of thing will make people take them seriously. Check this out.”

“There is no place for that in civil public discourse, and that video no more represents the people of South Carolina than union bosses represent our workers,” Rob Godfrey, spokesman for Haley, said in an e-mail.

Rick Wiley, political director for the RNC, reacted to the video by tweeting back to Haley as he called the group “a pathetic bunch.”

Update: Alison Omens, director of media outreach at AFL-CIO, emailed this comment on Dewitt’s actions: ”By now many of you have seen the video of the outgoing president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO. While it was meant as fun, there is absolutely no place for that kind of joke in a conversation that is extremely serious about how to rebuild our middle class and our country. There’s plenty to talk about in Gov. Haley’s awful record. We do not believe that’s an appropriate joke — working people deserve a better conversation.”

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