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After saying states can secede, Nikki Haley reverses herself: 'No ... they can't'

After saying states can secede, Nikki Haley reverses herself: 'No ... they can't'

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Sunday said that she does not believe states have the right to secede from the U.S. -- the opposite of what she said days earlier, when she endorsed the controversial concept of secession and breaking apart the country.

“No. According to the Constitution, they can't. What I do think they have the right to do is have the power to protect themselves,” Haley said after being pressed by CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union."

“Texas has talked about seceding for a long time. The Constitution doesn't allow for that. But what I will say is, where's that coming from? That's coming from the fact that people don't think that government is listening to them,” she added.

That's a reversal from what Haley said during an interview with the radio show "The Breakfast Club" on Wednesday.

"If that whole state says, 'We don't want to be part of America anymore,' I mean, that's their decision to make," Haley said then, though she also noted, "Let's talk about what's reality. Texas isn't going to secede."

MORE: Nikki Haley argues she won't have to win in South Carolina to still claim a victory

Asked on Wednesday if she still believed states generally have the right to secede, a sentiment she expressed on camera during her initial run for governor of South Carolina, Haley said that "states have the right to make the decisions that their people want to make."

"I believe in states' rights, I believe that everything should be as close to the people to decide," she said then.

A Haley campaign spokeswoman did not respond to further questions from ABC News about Haley's view on secession, which infamously sparked the Civil War.

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during her New Hampshire presidential primary election night rally, in Concord, N.H., Jan. 23, 2024. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during her New Hampshire presidential primary election night rally, in Concord, N.H., Jan. 23, 2024. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

In 1869, in the Texas v. White case in the immediate wake of the war, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the country is "an indestructible union."

Haley, on Sunday, also played down her past comments in 2010.

“During the time when I was a tea party candidate, states were very upset about government control. They were very upset about government spending. They were very upset about the fact that they weren't listening to the people. And there had been a movement that Texas had wanted to secede from the union,” she said. “And what I said is when government stops listening, let's remember states rights matter.”

Haley tried to reframe the issue as being about the border -- in light of a tense, ongoing dispute between Texas Republicans and the Biden administration.

“No one is talking about seceding. That's not an issue at all. What we are talking about the fact is here you have Gov. [Greg] Abbott and the people of Texas who just want to be kept safe,” she said.

ABC News' Ayesha Ali contributed to this report.

After saying states can secede, Nikki Haley reverses herself: 'No ... they can't' originally appeared on abcnews.go.com