CNN’s Asha Rangappa Attacks Nikki Haley over RNC Speech

Asha Rangappa on ABC in 2018. (ABC/via YouTube)

Rangappa has made a habit of mounting vicious, dishonest attacks on women she disagrees with.


know that the U.S. has engaged in many questionable things,” Asha Rangappa was quoted as saying in a glowing 2019 Elle profile. “But there was this idea that there were certain principles: rule of law, equal justice, freedom of religion and the press, these things. That’s what I feel oriented around.”

For Rangappa, an Indian-American woman whose impressive career has spanned the FBI, CNN, and Yale, one of those values is clearly feminism. “Women, in particular, are shamed into ‘dumbing own’ [sic] their accomplishments, and frankly, I’m kind of tired of it,” she tweeted in April 2019. She’s a brand ambassador for a “female-founded, female-led, and female-focused” bag company that funds one year of girls’ education for every bag it sells. And she’s not afraid to challenge what she sees as sexist attacks on women, as when she took issue with remarks made by American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp over remarks he’d made about Kamala Harris following the first Democratic primary debate last June:

But this past month, Rangappa betrayed her own principles in an attack on former United Nations ambassador and fellow Indian American Nikki Haley. After Haley, who spoke at the Republican National Convention, posited that “America is not a racist country,” Rangappa tried to paint her as a hypocrite for going by “Nikki” rather than her given first name, “Nimrata.”

Rangappa’s attack might have worked, if it weren’t the case that “Nikki” is Haley’s middle name, and a traditional Punjabi name at that. This isn’t some well-guarded secret that it would’ve been difficult for Rangappa to ascertain, either; Haley has both tweeted and written about going by “Nikki.”

“‘Nimrata’ is my given name, but I have spent my whole life as Nikki,” she wrote in her 2012 memoir. “Some have accused me of creating the name ‘Nikki,’ to sound American, but on my birth certificate it says ‘Nimrata Nikki Randhawa.’”

Like the target of her scorn, Rangappa also goes by her middle name. After being called out for it, Rangappa attempted to defend herself by doubling down on her misrepresentation of Haley’s remarks:

In fact, Haley’s speech didn’t claim that there was “no racism” in America. It asserted that “America is not a racist country,” and that while the nation “isn’t perfect . . . the principles we hold dear are perfect” — a surprisingly similar point to the one made by Rangappa in her Elle profile. It also talked about how Haley’s family had faced “discrimination and hardship” after her parents emigrated from India, arguing that their subsequent success proved “America is a story that’s a work in progress.”

While the group South Asians for Biden used a similar line of attack against Haley, only to later delete the tweet and apologize for its “tone,” Rangappa defiantly declined to apologize. “Nikki can identify as whatever she wants — it’s her business,” she wrote in a later thread. And after female Washington Free Beacon reporter Alex Nester reached out to Yale for a comment on the controversy, Rangappa went ballistic, telling her nearly 633,000 Twitter followers to “feel free to respond” to Nester, whose phone number was included in the email screenshot she tweeted out.

The message, which resulted in dozens of tweets being directed at the young reporter, was condemned by Haley, and Twitter forced Rangappa to delete it.

Yet instead of apologizing, Rangappa then demeaned Nester as an “intern who presented herself as a reporter” and “tried to Karen me at my job.” She also suggested that the experience of being censured by Twitter for doxing a young, female reporter had been fun, and reminded her of “the first time I got detention as a senior in high school!”

In an email to National Review, Nester said that “I stand by my story and my reporting speaks for itself, as does Asha’s tweet.” CNN, Yale, and Rangappa did not return requests for comment.

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