Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley offered one of the biggest surprises of the first Republican primary debate. She presented a strong sense of realism that was not found among her competitors. Her opponents stuck to stale talking points that have been recycled by Republican candidates since the Reagan era on taxes, abortion, and so forth.
She made a stronger-than-expected showing during the debate; however, she lacks a constituency. Hence, it will be harder for her to improve in the polls.
Nikki Haley Offers Realism on Trump and January 6th
Haley has been mentioned as a potential running mate for Donald Trump in the past. She offered soft criticism of Trump, saying he was her friend but saying the Republican Party needs to move onto younger leadership. She also defended Vice President Mike Pence’s actions on January 6th.
“… [W]hat I will also tell you is look, I mean when it comes to whether President Trump should serve or not, I trust the American people. Let them vote, let them decide. But what they will tell you is that it is time for a new generational conservative leader. We have to look at the fact that three-quarters of Americans don’t want a rematch between Trump and Biden. We have to face the fact that Trump is the most disliked politician in America. We can’t win a general election that way,” Haley said.
Haley Delivers Realism on Abortion
When it came to abortion only Haley was there reminding former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tim Scott, and others that Republicans shouldn’t be looking to get a national ban on abortion because the political climate would not support it.
“We haven’t had 45 pro-life senators in over a hundred years. So no Republican president can ban abortions any more than a Democrat president could ban all those state laws. Don’t make women feel like they have to decide on this issue when you know we don’t have 60 Senate votes in the House,” Haley said in a riposte to Pence.
Pence shot back saying, “Seventy percent of the American people support legislation to ban abortion after a baby is capable of experiencing pain.”
Haley delivered a strong dose of reality noting that 70 percent of Senators do not support the idea of a national ban on abortion; consequently, the notion that it could be banned is just lying to the voters.
“… I think we’re all pro-life, but what I would love, it’s for someone to ask Biden and Kamala Harris, Are they for 38 weeks? Are they for 39 weeks? Are they for 40 weeks? Because that’s what the media needs to be asking,” Haley said.
Ramaswamy Gets Swatted Down Over Taiwan
Ramaswamy attacked Haley, suggesting that her support for Ukraine was because she had a future on the board of directors of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, which she said was false.
Haley responded to Ramaswamy by noting that China will look at the U.S. resolve in support of Ukraine when deciding if it will invade Taiwan. She served as Donald Trump’s U.N. ambassador at the start of that administration. Vladimir Putin arguably looked at the lack of U.S. resolve in Afghanistan and decided that the U.S. would not support Ukraine.
“A win for Russia is a win for China. We have to know that. Ukraine is the first line of defense for us. The problem that Vivek doesn’t understand is he wants to hand Ukraine to Russia, he wants to let China eat Taiwan, he wants to go and stop funding Israel,” Haley said. “Putin has said once Russia takes Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltics are next. That’s a world war. We’re trying to prevent war. Look at what Putin did today. He killed Prigozhin.”
Nikki Haley continued, “When I was at the UN, the Russian ambassador suddenly died. This guy is a murderer and you are choosing a murderer over a pro-American country … He will make America less safe. Under your watch, you will make America less safe. You have no foreign political experience and it shows. It shows.”
Haley’s performance was one of sanity and realism amid a sea of talking points. She should be given a closer look.
About the Author
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.
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