Nikki Haley says U.S. ‘won’t survive’ second term of Trump

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Ambassador Nikki Haley is a Republican presidential candidate campaigning before the Iowa caucuses in Nevada, Iowa. 12/18/2023 Photo by John Pemblre
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By Iowa Public Radio, Clay Masters

The Republican presidential candidate is upping her appearances in Iowa as the Jan. 15 caucuses draw near. The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina governor held one of her town halls in Nevada.

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is holding a series of town halls across the state as the Iowa caucuses draw near. At the Story County Fairgrounds in Nevada, Nikki Haley addressed the crowd, including first-time attendees.

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“Thank you for taking the time to be here. How many of you are hearing me for the first time at a town hall? Now, where have y’all been?” she asked.

Former President Donald Trump still holds a commanding lead in the weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses, but Haley, who trailed slightly behind Florida Gov. DeSantis in the latest Iowa Poll, says she wants to show her campaign has a strong presence at the caucuses.

“I think I need to do well,” she told IPR. “I mean, that’s it — just to do well and show that we have a presence. I want to, you know, do as strong as we possibly can. I don’t know what a win looks like because you don’t know what the other candidates do. But based on that, I want to come out of here looking strong.”

Haley has upped her appearances in the state ahead of the caucuses. During her recent town halls, she’s begun to speak on the differences between her foreign policy and Trump’s.

“I don’t agree with Trump praising these dictators,” she said. “You don’t go and say, ‘Hezbollah’s smart,’ you don’t congratulate the Chinese Communist Party on their 70th anniversary. You don’t praise President Xi a dozen times after he gave the world COVID. You just don’t do that. Instead, you let countries know what we expect of them. And now more than ever, we need to come at them strong. This is about preventing war.”

Haley says America “won’t survive” another term with Trump in office, and needs someone more forward-thinking.

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“You can’t have someone who’s so focused on the past that they can’t see the future,” she said. “And that’s why I think Donald Trump shouldn’t be president — is not only does chaos follow him, but he’s not in the right state of mind to really look forward. He’s too busy wanting to fix the grievances of the past. We can’t have that, we won’t survive it.”

Haley on abortion

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The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from the Biden administration on access to an abortion pill called mifepristone. Haley says she has concerns about the pill’s effect on women’s health, though KFF, an independent health policy organization, found medication abortion successfully terminates apregnancy 99.6% of the time, with a 0.4% risk of major complications. The FDA says mifepristone must be dispensed by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber, or by certified pharmacies for prescriptions issued by certified prescribers.

Iowa’s “fetal heartbeat” law , which would ban abortion at six weeks of preganancy, is currently tied up in the courts. Haley says she supports the law as long as Iowans do, too.

“I’m unapologetically pro-life, but I do think unelected justices didn’t need to make this decision,” she said. “It needed to be in the hands of the people. And I think that’s the right place for it to be.”

As for supporting a federal six-week abortion ban, Haley maintains her messaging that she doesn’t think it’s possible.

“We can’t pass any law that doesn’t have 60 votes, and we haven’t had 60 Republican senators in over 100 years, so no Republican president can ban abortions, any more than a Democrat president can ban these state laws,” she said. “So at the federal level, let’s find consensus.”

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Haley says the issue needs to be humanized rather than demonized in order to save as many babies as possible and support mothers, which is how she says she’ll deal with the issue if elected as president.

On climate change

The U.S. has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030, but Haley says that goal will remain unachievable until China and India “start doing their part.”

“There’s nothing we do that’s even gonna dent what’s happening with the environment,” she said. “So if we want to focus on the environment, I’d think everybody wants clean air. I think everybody wants clean water. I want my kids to have, a world that’s safe for a long time. But we have to acknowledge the hard truth: China and India continue to produce coal continue to do all of these things that lead out emissions, and they do nothing.”

She said Biden’s goals within the decade are “not realistic” and America needs to transition to greener solutions “the right way.”

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