LAS VEGAS — Nikki Haley was to tell a gathering of Republican activists gathered to vet potential presidential contenders the party needs a course correction, the latest signal from the former ambassador that she is mulling a 2024 bid.
In excerpts of Haley’s speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition, scheduled for delivery Saturday evening, she takes the GOP to task for repeated electoral failures. Haley hints at the problems that prevented Republicans from capitalizing on a favorable political environment in the midterm elections while also referring to the party’s failure to win the national popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential contests.
Among other needed changes, Haley says an infusion of fresh leadership is the antidote to what ails the Republican Party.
“The truth is, Americans weren’t feeling or trusting the state of our party. They don’t want chaos. They want stability and strength and unity. We didn’t have that. We have to look in the mirror,” Haley said, according to excerpts of her speech first shared with the Washington Examiner.
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“The Republican Party has lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections. That’s saying something,” Haley continued. “We’re behind the times. And we have to be honest with ourselves. Joe Biden turns 80 years old tomorrow. Happy birthday, Mr. President, but it’s time for a younger generation to lead!”
Haley’s remarks are significant because she had previously ruled out a White House bid if Donald Trump was a candidate. The former president announced Tuesday, but Haley is continuing to weigh a 2024 campaign, as she has been since leaving Trump’s Cabinet nearly four years ago. (Some Haley supporters emphasize the former ambassador’s opposition to running if Trump was in the race had softened.)
Haley’s appearance before the Republican Jewish Coalition was proof enough she continues to be interested in running for president. The group’s annual conference at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas has amounted to the unofficial kickoff event of the next GOP presidential primary, drawing former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, and others.
Some in this group used their prepared remarks to urge Republicans to move on from Trump and embrace new leadership atop the party, noting the former president has presided over three consecutive electoral defeats. Republicans lost the House in 2018, the Senate and White House in 2020, and underperformed expectations for a red wave in 2022.
Meanwhile, Haley also was set to comment on foreign policy matters in her speech, always of great interest to Republican Jewish Coalition members. Indeed, this excerpt was another smoke signal that Haley may choose to run for president. “If Biden succeeds in getting us back in the Iran deal, I will make you a promise,” she said. “The next president will shred it — on her first day in office!”
Haley, 50, has spent most of the last almost four years building policy and political organizations — and crisscrossing the country to raise money and campaign for Republican gubernatorial and congressional candidates. She was in her second term as South Carolina governor when Trump, newly elected, tapped her for his Cabinet as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
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Although not a foreign policy wonk, Haley was a quick study and swiftly rose to prominence as an effective spokeswoman for Trump’s overseas agenda. The ambassador also made a name for herself as an adviser who earned the former president’s respect without ingratiating herself. The two had a very public falling out over Trump’s handling of his loss to President Joe Biden and did not speak for several months.
But over time, they have repaired their relationship, at least somewhat.