May 23rd, 2012
08:29 PM ET
2 years ago

No apologies from woman who bashed piñata of governor

(CNN) - She took a baseball bat to a piñata bearing the likeness of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, but when asked about the swings on Thursday, Donna Dewitt said she had no "regrets," and that "it could have been any face on that piñata."

"I certainly didn't have any hostilities so it wasn't intended to be hostile," she said Wednesday on CNN's "John King, USA." "My husband and I have been married 44 years. There are times you could have probably put his face on it, and he feels the same way about me. It was a piñata."

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Video of Dewitt, president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, dealing nine intense blows to the piñata was posted online, drawing rebuke from the national AFL-CIO and comment from Haley, whose face can be seen on the purple and black piñata as it hung in an outdoor picnic patio.

On Tuesday, Haley posted a link to the video on her Twitter account, writing, "Wow. I wonder if the unions think this kind of thing will make people take them seriously."

The video shows Dewitt pummeling the piñata as onlookers - attendees at her retirement party and policy retreat - cheer her on.

The national AFL-CIO, the biggest U.S. labor organization, said the incident was not "an appropriate joke."

"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," the organization said in a statement. "There's plenty to talk about in Governor Haley's awful record."

In the interview, Dewitt said she is "not a traditional AFL CIO leader" and that she has "had overwhelming support from people that understand that this has become a tool for our governor to go out and raise money and to try to discourage union membership."

Haley has been outspoken against organized labor efforts, especially those to unionize a Boeing plant in her state.

A lawsuit brought by the AFL-CIO and a machinists union against Haley was thrown out earlier this year, with the federal appeals court ruling that anti-union language used by Haley and others could not be proven as "anything but heated political rhetoric."

- CNN's Gregory Wallace contributed to this report

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Filed under: Nikki Haley • South Carolina
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Richard "BONEHEAD" Cheney

    It was a piñata – get over it.

    May 23, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  2. Namejkane fl live FROM ROMNEYCARE BIG DIG IN BOSTON, 15BILLION DALLAR ROMNEY FISCILE CONSERVATIVE FAILED GOV,THREE TIME LOSER

    Send her back where she came from .I want to see her papers ,but there's always romney s self deportation !!!

    May 23, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  3. thomas

    Gov. Nikki Haley's weeklong trip to Europe in June in search of "jobs, jobs, jobs" cost South Carolinians more than $127000," .

    How much dose a piñata bearing the likeness of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley cost and where can I get one ?

    May 23, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  4. Steve

    But it's okay for people to shoot targets with the President's picture, right?

    May 23, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  5. Ryan Wenzel

    Napoleon Dynamite anyone?

    "Look, Pedro, I don't know how they do things down in Juarez, but here in Idaho we have a little something called pride. Understand?"

    May 23, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  6. Ed1

    What would you expect from a Union member if it was a Republican that did this to an Dem Governor you want them thrown in jail or worse.

    What a jerk and as always one sided from the I want more tax dollars so we don't have to work unions.

    May 23, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  7. MaryM

    But it WAS haleys face. Thats the point

    May 23, 2012 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  8. Nanjing03

    Donna DeWitt is typical of the "union thug mentality" seen in other parts of the country. You just don't generally see it outside of "union territory (the Rust Belt, West Coast, and New England)." Any apology would not have been sincere, so why waste our time with that - or a story about DeWitt not intending to apologize.

    May 23, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  9. South Carolinian

    Gov Haley bashes us on a daily basis like a "pinata" ....healthcare, jobs, education, women's rights....to name a few....

    May 23, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  10. Common Sense

    Serious with un-employment hovering over 8% with some entirely giving up looking for jobs! we are talking about pinatas and whose face was on it. Well folks how about making a real pinata shellacking on Nov 6 ?

    May 23, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  11. Squigman

    Free speech, is free speech. Or is this another liberty, the republicans want to do away with?

    May 23, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  12. d

    Obama's minions are getting crazy.

    May 24, 2012 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  13. enuff

    Hitting a pinata is just heated retoric.It could also become a freedom speech issue. Mostly, it comes down to sometimes a pinata is JUST A PINATA. This country's politics can even spin a finger painting as a slap at a candidate anymore.

    May 24, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  14. AmandaInTN

    As much as I don't like Haley, this is totally uncalled for. We need to be better than this – especially given how much Haley and her ilk try to paint union leaders and supporters as thugs. Take the high road, and don't stoop to their level.

    May 24, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  15. Gloria

    Really- if caught doing the same thing I would come up with a lame excuse too. Doesn't mean I wasn't a fool when I did it.

    May 24, 2012 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  16. Donkey Party

    Let's hear all the whiney right-wingers play the victim card in 3,2,1...

    May 24, 2012 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  17. Steve

    No apology? Of course not...she is classless trash.

    May 24, 2012 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  18. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    A symbolic gesture of November 6 for the unhinged GOBP. Americans hold the sticks.

    May 24, 2012 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  19. Jerry

    What an excuse of a woman!!! Unions are really going bezerk. And, then they wonder why they are loosing members and being fought at every turn.

    Instead of pounding her chest, this excuse of a woman should be apologizing to Governor Haley. If this had been a Republican doing the same thing to a Democratic governor, Donna Dimwit (Dewitt) would have had to move out of town.

    I am guessing the next comments we will hear is our clueless/divisive president and his misguided supporters applauding Ms. Dimwit's moronic actions.

    No wonder America has been going down hill. These are the same unions that Mr. Obama has supported all along. Thank you Mr. President!

    I case anyone is wondering, these comments are coming from a life-long Democrat.

    May 24, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  20. Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Is Soo Plastic he Makes Mannequins Looks Real

    good for her! The GOP TeaParty folks do this all the time...have you ever been to a Tea Party rally and see how they portray president Obama?

    At least Haley wasn't called a slut & a prostitute like Rush Limbaugh does....it's just a pinata!!!

    This good lady DOES NOT have to apologise for anything...if Haley can't take a joke then she needs take her behind back to INDIA!!!!

    May 24, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |