February 15, 2023

Nikki Haley

“Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador, announced her candidacy for president on Tuesday, becoming the first major challenger to former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination.” AP News

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From the Left

The left criticizes Haley for her launch video and shifting positions about former President Trump.

In the video, “She solemnly attacks liberals who say the U.S.’s ‘ideas are not just wrong but racist and evil’… In fact, what leftist critics invariably say is that the U.S.’s ideas are noble, but their implementation has been hypocritically lacking…

“Next, Haley briefly pivots to the foreign-policy chops she developed at the U.N., saying that while leftists see the U.S.’s founding ideas as evil, ‘I’ve seen evil.’ This is handled clumsily as well. Haley says nothing about her accomplishments while serving in the Trump administration but includes a disturbing and unexplained reference to soldiers killing a baby…

“And when it comes to the moment of Haley’s governorship that brought her national attention — indeed, embarrassingly fawning coverage from the mainstream media — the video pulls its punch… There’s no mention of Haley’s famous decision to remove a Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds in the [2015 Charleston church] shooting’s aftermath. Perhaps she feels that call won’t go over well with today’s GOP-primary voters.”

Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine

In 2016, Haley said, ‘we have someone running for president who instead of bringing [people] back together like we did in South Carolina, he’s telling his supporters to punch a guy in the face! He’s telling them if they don’t do the right thing to carry him out on a stretcher. He’s telling them to say, do it again. He’s not denouncing the KKK when this is exactly the same group that protested on my statehouse grounds. We can’t have Donald Trump as president! We can’t.’…

“She eventually did support the guy who’d called for a ban on all Muslims entering the country and boasted on tape of sexually assaulting women—the man who reminded her of the forces that unleashed ‘hate’ on her state. And then she went to work for the guy. And then she endorsed him for reelection. And then she went back to denouncing Trump after January 6th, saying that ‘his actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history’ and that ‘we can’t let that ever happen again.’ And then, several months later, she said that she would support him again. Now, Haley has changed her mind once more.”

Tim Murphy, Mother Jones

Haley is not the only Republican candidate expected to challenge Trump. She’s not even the only big-name Republican from South Carolina expected to challenge Trump. Sen. Tim Scott is also seriously considering a run…

“She’s also not the only former Trump administration official who could challenge their old boss. Former Vice President Mike Pence has been courting social conservatives. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently released a memoir and is attacking President Joe Biden’s foreign policy in interviews this week… Former President Donald Trump’s attempt to clear the field has officially failed.”

Zachary B. Wolf, CNN

From the Right

The right generally approves of Haley but is skeptical that she will win the primary.

The right generally approves of Haley but is skeptical that she will win the primary.

“Haley’s record as governor was generally conservative. She signed a 20-week abortion ban at a time when she was constrained by [Roe v. Wade] still being on the books. And she advanced gun rights by signing a bill that presumptively allowed licensed individuals to bring their concealed firearms into bars and restaurants (unless explicitly prohibited by the businesses). On fiscal issues, her record was less impressive. She pushed tax cuts, with limited success, but failed to restrain general-fund spending…

“Early polling indicates there is a genuine risk that Haley is just the sort of candidate who doesn’t do nearly well enough to contend for the nomination, but just well enough to help split the vote and put Trump over the top. This is especially a risk if her candidacy doesn’t take off but she decides to stick around until her home state of South Carolina votes… [At the same time] Nobody deserves to be anointed the nominee this far in advance, and Haley deserves the opportunity to make her case.”

The Editors, National Review

“[Haley] brings clear strengths. She was a popular Governor, held a cabinet-level position in a foreign-policy role, and brings racial and gender diversity to the GOP field. She also has charisma and can light up a room of Republicans…

“The bigger challenge for Ms. Haley is identifying the rationale for her candidacy beyond a winning persona. Her campaign announcement stressed a belief in America as a force for good, the seriousness of global threats, and the follies of the progressive left. Is there a Republican presidential candidate who believes something different? She hasn’t staked out any clear domestic policy directions, and she doesn’t have an obvious core of support…

“Ted Kennedy famously fizzled in the 1980 Democratic primary when he couldn’t answer the question ‘Why do you want to be President?’ Ms. Haley needs her own answer.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“Can Nikki Haley capture the imagination of voters? I think she can. Her personal story is a compelling one. Born and raised in a small town in South Carolina, she speaks to growing up being different. She doesn’t dwell on that, though, and repeats advice her mother gave her to use her differences as an opportunity. That is refreshing in today’s world where everyone wants to cash in on victimhood. She reminds me of a happy warrior, as Ronald Reagan used to say…

“Who doesn’t remember how proud we were when she stood up to brutal tyrants at the U.N. during her time there? She was a fierce fighter for Trump’s America First policies… We’ll see how far she gets. Does she make it past the early states in the primary? We’ll see how [she] does with fundraising and how long she can hang in there. She’d be a good vice-presidential candidate. Just a thought.”

Karen Townsend, Hot Air

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