Trump Targets Nikki Haley’s Record After She Launches 2024 Presidential Campaign

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
February 15, 20232024 Elections
Trump Targets Nikki Haley’s Record After She Launches 2024 Presidential Campaign
President Donald Trump and Nikki Haley in the Oval Office in Washington on Oct. 9, 2018. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images/File)

Former President Donald Trump was the only candidate officially running in the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential campaign until Tuesday, when Nikki Haley—a former South Carolina governor and his former United Nations ambassador—launched her own 2024 bid.

Trump responded to Haley’s political announcement with a statement on his campaign website titled “The Real Nikki Haley.” In the statement, Trump criticized Haley for her stances on such issues as border security and the war in Ukraine.

Border Security

“Haley is Weak on Immigration and Does Not Support a Border Wall,” Trump wrote in one section of the statement. He then said Haley had been critical of ending birthright citizenship and building a border wall. Trump cited an example of Haley using a 2016 State of the Union response speech to criticize his border policy proposals. Trump raised those particular issues on border and immigration policy just months after the Republican Party won a narrow House majority with border security as their top priority.

At a campaign launch rally on Wednesday, Haley said, “In the America I see, we stop the surge of drugs and illegal immigration. That means having a real border and mandatory E-Verify, like we got done in South Carolina.”

“Businesses must hire Americans, not illegals,” Haley added.

Ukraine Aid

In another portion of his statement, Trump said Haley supported more spending for Ukraine “instead of finding a peaceful solution” to end the Russia-Ukraine war. In April 2022, Haley called for sending military planes to Ukraine.

U.S. support for Ukraine has been somewhat mixed in recent months. An October poll found that about 40 percent of respondents supported giving both weapons and military funding to Ukraine. Another 30 percent supported sending weapons but not money to Ukraine, while 25 percent supported sending nothing at all to Ukraine. That poll found that Republicans were the most opposed to sending weapons to Ukraine, with 38.7 percent opposing weapons for Ukraine, while more than 61 percent supported sending weapons.

Some Republicans have called for more oversight on the issue of sending weapons and funding to Ukraine. In October, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that Congress would not continue to write a “blank check” to Ukraine if Republicans won control of the House. In November, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), along with a dozen Republican co-sponsors, introduced legislation to audit U.S. funding for Ukraine.

During her Wednesday rally, Haley said, “We’ll stand with our allies, from Israel to Ukraine, and stand up to our enemies in Iran and Russia.”

Haley’s 2024 ‘Flip Flop’

Trump also criticized Haley for deciding to run in 2024 after she had said she would not seek the Republican nomination if Trump ran.

In April 2021, Haley said, “I would not run if President Trump ran, and I would talk to him about it.”

“That’s something that we’ll have a conversation about at some point, if that decision is something that has to be made,” Haley added at the time.

Trump announced his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination on Nov. 15, 2022. Just days after his announcement, Haley indicated she was considering a run.

During her Wednesday rally, Haley did not directly address the fact that she’s now officially running against Trump, but offered “a particular message for my fellow Republicans.”

“We’ve lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections. Our cause is right, but we have failed to win the confidence of a majority of Americans,” Haley said. “Well, that ends today.”

Other Issues

Among the other issues Trump raised in his campaign statement was the fact that Haley did not support a 2016 bill in her state that would have required public restrooms and school bathrooms to accommodate people according to their biological sex.

The issue of transgender accommodations has continued to grow since Haley’s time as South Carolina governor. Other states with Republican governors and Republican state legislative majorities have passed laws requiring public schools to provide bathrooms that accommodate students based on their biological sex.

A 2021 incident in which a female student was assaulted by a biologically male student in a girl’s bathroom became a hot-button issue amid the 2021 Virginia state elections, which saw Republicans take control of key statewide offices.

Trump also noted a 2012 example of Haley describing long-time Democratic politician Hillary Clinton as her inspiration to enter politics. Trump defeated Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

NTD reached out to Haley’s campaign for comment but did not receive a response before publication.

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