Photo of Nikki Haley

Haley Campaign Press Release - Haley Impressed on the Debate Stage

September 11, 2023

By: Jennifer Nassour
Online here

On the debate stage in Milwaukee last month, the world got to see what so many of us have known for months: Nikki Haley is the adult in the room.

As the former chairwoman of the Massachusetts GOP, and a self-confessed political junkie, I've seen my fair share of candidates over the years. Almost everyone has a defining weakness: a lack of experience, family woes, their temperament, some poorly hidden skeletons in the closet, or worse.

Debates have a habit of exposing these weaknesses. That's why the first GOP primary debate was so unique. While plenty of candidates come off looking worse, Nikki Haley proved she's strong on all fronts.

On policy, on temperament, on her vision for America – she was excellent. She demonstrated she will stand up for Americans, without dragging us down.

I have two takeaways from Nikki Haley's exceptional performance.

First: Nikki has a plan to renew American strength, making us safe and respected again on the world stage.

Nikki Haley seems to be the only candidate with a keen understanding of the chess game that is foreign policy. Her worldview wasn't fashioned on the campaign trail or altered to meet the demands of political convenience. It was forged in experience, as ambassador to the United Nations, and it has a principled foundation of American strength and leadership.

Nikki's foreign policy is based on her experience sitting across the table from China, Russia, and the rest of the world's worst actors. And she understands that global threats don't exist in a vacuum. What happens with Russia and Ukraine affects our relationship with China. Nikki Haley is as clear-eyed as they come. At the UN, she stared evil in the face and didn't flinch.

Compare this to the other candidates. One believes Ukraine is a mere "territorial dispute." Another thinks the invasion of Taiwan is kosher, so long as it's not under his tenure. The former president routinely praised dictatorships like Communist China, calling it "professionally run" and insinuated that he and Vladimir Putin would become "best friends." That's not American strength. It's the definition of weakness.

During the debate, Haley didn't hold back when Vivek Ramaswamy declared he would abandon American allies Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel. "You know nothing about foreign policy and it shows," Haley shot back. The crowd cheered in agreement. They know what Ramaswamy clearly does not: A strong America doesn't start wars. It prevents them.

America can't afford a leader who needs to be coached through how to handle dictators and communist regimes. There is no room for a learning curve in the White House. There is no room for waffling between right and wrong. Haley is battle-tested and ready to go on day one. No wonder the Chinese Communist Party is attacking her. The CCP certainly isn't going after Vivek Ramaswamy.

Second: Nikki Haley balances grit and grace and courage and compassion.

Republicans need to be able to talk about important issues and principles in a way that doesn't scare people who don't agree with us. It doesn't mean we change our policies or water down our principles. But it does mean we can't write off half the country. It means we have to explain why our policies are the best instead of demanding that everyone agree with us. We should be tough and emphatic without being childish and insensitive.

In other words, we need a leader who is a badass—not a jackass.

What's the alternative? Well, we're living in it. Republicans have lost the popular vote in seven out of the past eight elections. In 2022, with the economy in shambles and the highest inflation in 40 years, Republicans barely took back the House and failed to take back the Senate. Republicans have made tremendous headway with working-class and rural voters, but we have essentially chased away suburban voters in the process. This trade-off has not played out well for our candidates.

We need a Republican nominee who can win votes. And we need a president who can win the hearts and minds of the American people because that is the only way we will solve our big problems and make America strong and proud again.

Nikki Haley, Haley Campaign Press Release - Haley Impressed on the Debate Stage Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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