But at the end of the drama, the episode’s host, actress Ayo Adebiri, came out to ask Haley a question.
“I was just curious: What would you say was the main cause of the civil war? And do you think it starts with ‘S’ and ends with ‘Laweri’? Edebiri asked.
“Yeah, I probably should have said it first,” Haley replied, before ending the traditional talking point with “And live from New York, it’s Saturday night.”
Haley has spent several weeks cleaning up a campaign-trail gaffe at a late December town hall in northern New Hampshire in which the former South Carolina governor did not identify slavery as a cause of the Civil War. He has repeatedly apologized for this omission, saying, “Of course the Civil War was about slavery.”
But Haley and her campaign did not shy away from Saturday’s controversy. The former UN ambassador took the sharp joke in stride and smiled in response. Subsequently, his campaign uploaded the entire seven-minute clip – which also mocked Trump supporter and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott – to its YouTube channel and circulated it in an email to reporters, titled, “From New York Live…it’s Nikki Haley vs.” Donald Trump.”
Haley’s part of the drama began with asking the fake Trump why he wouldn’t debate her. Johnson responded by referring to Haley as Nancy Pelosi — a nod to the rally at which Trump appeared to confuse Haley with the former House speaker.
“Are you okay, Donald? You might need a mental aptitude test,” quipped Haley, who has called for testing the mental acuity of politicians over the age of 75.
Trump’s legal troubles were openly discussed – including an $83.3 million judgment in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case – for laughs. Haley, referencing the combined $50 million spent on legal expenses by Trump’s political committees in 2023, joked: “Do you need to borrow some money?”
And, after referencing the iconic line from “The Sixth Sense” — “I see dead people” — Haley, who has argued that Trump and President Joe Biden are too old to be in the White House, added: “ “Yeah, this is what voters would say if they saw you and Joe on the ballot.”
The presidential candidate is known for appearing on popular sketch comedy shows. Trump also hosted the show in 2015, sparking intense controversy and protests outside Rockefeller Center.