Nikki Haley pitching Iowa Republicans ahead of possible 2024 candidacy
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Nikki Haley criticized Democratic-controlled Washington on Thursday night as she pitched her vision for the Republican Party and cashed in political favors in a key state ahead of a possible 2024 presidential bid.
A critic of former President Donald Trump before becoming his ambassador to the United Nations for two years, Haley was the headliner of the Iowa Republican Party’s biggest rally of the year. His speech to around 500 people, which received a standing ovation at its conclusion, focused more on the current president than on his predecessor.
“Joe Biden has been a gift to all the countries that hate America and want to hurt us. He is the opposite of Donald Trump, ”she said. “I saw with my own eyes as Ambassador to the United Nations how Donald Trump put America first, sometimes in the most interesting way. “
The former governor of South Carolina said the party needs to balance tenacity and respect.
“Republicans are too nice,” she said. “I wear heels – it’s not for a fashion statement – I use them for kicking. But I always hit with a smile.
Ms Haley, who is spending three days in Iowa as part of a cross-country trip to help Republicans raise money for next year’s midterm election, focused her remarks on the goals from 2022.
“This Republican Party and the American people will take our country back from Joe Biden and the radical left,” she said. “Democrats today don’t just blame America. They don’t even believe in America. And that’s why they don’t deserve to lead America.
Two White House spokespersons did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Ms Haley suggested her party needs to reconnect with its roots.
“We are not the party of awakened companies,” she said. “We are not the party of taxpayer bailouts and government dependency. The Republican Party defends economic freedom. Capitalism is economic freedom and we should never apologize for it. ”
The appearance of Ms Haley’s Lincoln Dinner, a high-profile milestone in the state set to host the GOP’s first presidential nomination ballot in 2024, gave her the opportunity to introduce herself to campaigners and offer contrition to supporters of Mr. Trump that she might have offended in the past.
Earlier this year, Haley told members of the Republican National Committee that Mr. Trump would be “judged harshly by history” for his behavior after the November election. She also told Politico that she didn’t think the former president would be “in the game” when it came to the future of the party because he had “fallen so far”.
Ms Haley has since softened her tone, telling reporters in April that she would not be running for the White House in 2024 if Mr Trump decides to run again. Her back and forth regarding the former president left a few questions about Ms Haley’s political compass.
“She’s ambitious and capable, but I think she suffers from the disease of not knowing which path she is in,” said Doug Gross, a lawyer for Des Moines and a Republican political agent who has held leadership positions in Iowa during the last presidential campaigns. “You have to decide who you are.”
Ms Haley’s spokesperson declined to comment on this criticism, but offered a statement in response.
“Iowa is a priority target for DC Democrats in 2022,” said Chaney Denton. “Ambassador Haley’s priority is to take over the House and Senate and elect Tories from top to bottom in the ballot.”
Ms Haley is expected to visit a central Iowa farm on Friday for a lunchtime event that is expected to draw 50 to 100 people, including younger Republicans. She will also attend fundraisers benefiting the state governor, two members of Congress and Republicans at Iowa House during her trip.
In a straw poll conducted as part of the Western Conservative Summit last weekend in Denver, Ms Haley ranked 13th for support among potential GOP presidential candidates in the still untrained field . The unscientific investigation had Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as the most popular, slightly ahead of Mr. Trump.
Mr Gross, who is skeptical that Mr Trump will run again, said he expects a large number of potential candidates to take trips to Iowa in the coming months under the guise of campaigning for state and congressional candidates ahead of next year’s midterm elections. “Everyone will try to be in the Trump way and there will be a way for a non-Trump person,” he said.
Mr Trump has said he is unlikely to make a final decision on a third White House campaign before midterm, competitions where he intends to play a key role in selecting candidates and by punishing those who crossed paths with him. He is due to hold his first campaign-style rally on Saturday since leaving office, an event in northern Ohio sponsored by his Save America political action committee.
A Quinnipiac University poll released late last month showed that about two-thirds of Republicans would like to see Mr. Trump run again, while about two-thirds of Americans overall don’t. let him make another offer to the White House.
Ms Haley’s appearance is the first in a series of upcoming visits to Iowa by potential GOP presidential candidates. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas is due to visit one of the state’s most conservative counties next week, while former Vice President Mike Pence, Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota and the Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will speak at an event in mid-July. sponsored by an influential organization of social conservatives.
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While the tours may seem early, they are not by historical standards. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, another potential 2024 Republican candidate, traveled to Iowa less than two weeks after the 2012 presidential election ahead of his unsuccessful White House bid in 2016.
Scott Henry, whose family hosts Ms Haley on their nearly 10,000-acre farm in central Iowa, said he would like to see the GOP go beyond Mr Trump.
“There are a lot of good things Trump has done, but at the same time there are other people who can carry the torch for this party,” said Mr. Henry, who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 and 2020. “There is an opportunity for us as a party to restore some of the state spirit, while still not depriving people who think Trump is the only person who understands their views.
Write to John McCormick at [email protected]
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