- And if she decides to get in, the former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., and former governor of South Carolina, said she will “put 1,000 percent in and we’ll finish it.”
It looks as if Nikki Haley is pondering a presidential run, after all. Speaking at her alma mater, Clemson University in South Carolina where she is a trustee, the former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., and former governor of South Carolina, said she would take the Christmas holiday to mull a possible 2024 presidential bid. “We are taking the holidays to kind of look at what the situation is,” she told the audience at the Nov. 29 event at the university’s Strom Thurmond Institute auditorium. “But I have said I’ve never lost a race. I’m not going to start now. If we decide to get into it, we’ll put 1,000 percent in and we’ll finish it.” The forum, titled “A Night with Nikki Haley: The Road to Saving America,” was sponsored by the right-wing Turning Point USA advocacy group.
This openness to consider a run is a stark contrast to her previous statement of not running if Trump was. Replying to a question asked by The Associated Press in April 2021, Haley said she would support a future Trump presidential campaign. She then also noted that she would not seek her party’s nomination if Trump were also running. “I would not run if President Trump ran, and I would talk to him about it.”
The comments made at Clemson, resemble the ones she made at the recent Republican Jewish Coalition gathering in Las Vegas, the AP notes. “A lot of people have asked if I’m going to run for president,” she said at the time. “Now that the midterms are over, I’ll look at it in a serious way, and I’ll have more to say soon,” she told the gathering. “For now, I’ll say this. I’ve won tough primaries and tough general elections. I’ve been the underdog every single time. When people underestimate me, it’s always fun. But I’ve never lost an election. And I’m not going to start now.”
The audience at Clemson had the opportunity to hear Haley’s perspective on what happened with the midterms as well. She campaigned for Republican candidates in the midterm elections, including the Trump endorsee Herschel Walker. Noting that the outcome in the midterms was “no one person’s fault,” she urged the Republicans “look in the mirror and realize that we have some work to do, and we’ve got some soul-searching to do.” The GOP members “fought each other and the Democrats,” she said. “And so when you have that kind of chaos, what did that tell the American people? That told the American people that we were not unified.”
Once considered a close Trump ally, she has been distancing herself from her former boss since the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Since then she has walked a tightrope between criticism and praise of the former president. A month after the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill, she admitted to Politico’s Tim Alberta that Trump “let us down.” In an extended and detailed interview with Alberta, published on Feb. 12, she said Trump “went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”
Politico reported earlier that since she joined the Trump administration as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, “Haley had navigated the Trump era with a singular shrewdness, messaging and maneuvering in ways that kept her in solid standing both with the GOP donor class as well as with the president and his base. She maintained a direct line to Trump, keeping private her candid criticisms of him, while publicly striking an air of detached deference.”
She was one of the few members of the Trump administration who left on good terms with her boss, unlike her other colleagues, many of whom engaged in public spats. When she resigned in 2018, the New York Times called her “that rarest of Trump appointees: one who can exit the administration with her dignity largely intact.”