- 2024 hopeful Nikki Haley said the GOP needs Trump in a speech at the Reagan Library.
- “I don’t want us to go back to the days before Trump,” she said, according to the WSJ.
- Haley’s remarks are a strong departure from her previous criticisms of Trump.
Nikki Haley, former US Ambassador to the UN and a potential 2024 GOP contender, said the Republican party needs former President Donald Trump, adding in a Tuesday night speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library that she doesn’t want to “go back to the days before” him.
“He has a strong legacy from his administration,” Haley said of Trump, according to the Wall Street Journal. “He has the ability to get strong people elected, and he has the ability to move the ball, and I hope that he continues to do that. We need him in the Republican Party. I don’t want us to go back to the days before Trump.”
Haley, who served as South Carolina’s governor before joining the Trump administration, has been making moves towards a 2024 campaign, including headlining the Iowa Republican Party’s Lincoln Dinner fundraiser in June. Other 2024 GOP presidential hopefuls including former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have also recently spoken at the Reagan Library.
Haley’s praise of Trump is a stark departure from just eight months ago when she criticized him and distanced herself from the former president in a February interview with Politico Magazine and in remarks at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Florida.
“I don’t think he’s going to be in the picture,” Haley bluntly told journalist Tim Alberta of Trump’s future role in the GOP in February. “I don’t think he can. He’s fallen so far.”
“We need to acknowledge he let us down,” she said at the time. “He 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.”
In the same interview, Haley also said that she didn’t want the GOP to completely revert to its pre-Trump state. Republicans should “take the good that he built, leave the bad that he did, and get back to a place where we can be a good, valuable, effective party,” she added.
“Every time she criticizes me, she uncriticizes me about 15 minutes later,” Trump said of Haley in a September interview with Vanity Fair adding, “I guess she gets the base.”
In Tuesday night’s speech, Haley also said that “hatred of America” is “a pandemic much more damaging than the virus” and took aim at Democrats for exacerbating racial divisions.
—Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) October 6, 2021
“A large portion of our people are plagued by self-doubt or even by hatred of America,” she said. “It’s a pandemic much more damaging than any virus. Every day, more people think living in the land of the free is a curse, not a blessing.”
“We’re told our founding principles are tools of oppression,” Haley added. “We’re told the world’s freest and most prosperous country is no better than any other. In fact, we’re told it’s worse.”