Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has been gaining in the polls and among Republican political heavyweights as the best alternative to Donald Trump to be the party’s nominee in the 2024 presidential race.
Haley, who served as Trump’s U.N. ambassador for almost two years before resigning for reasons never made entirely clear, has staked out positions that tend to put her in the solid conservative slot on the GOP political spectrum.
Here’s a look at some of Haley’s public policy positions that have come up during the candidate’s debates or are likely to surface in the months of campaigning ahead.
Nikki Haley is Pro-Life
Haley has long said she is unapologetically pro-life while pushing a mellowing policy position of saying that the demonizing of the issue should cease.
Haley’s policy positions as South Carolina governor included signing legislation that outlawed most abortions in the state at 20 weeks beyond fertilization with the only exceptions to save the mother’s life or if a doctor determines the fetus can’t survive outside the womb.
Haley, who says she would back a national ban on abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy, said during the Nov. 8 candidates’ debate in Miami that passing a national measure in the Congress would be unrealistic. Instead, she said she would push for shared stances such as banning late-term abortions, not forcing doctors against abortion to perform them and not jailing women who receive them.
As U.N. ambassador, Haley’s policy positions included condemning countries that used forced abortions, and she claims to have a reputation as the most anti-abortion United Nations ambassador to ever represent the United States.
Nikki Haley’s policy position on climate change has been to acknowledge that its effects are real while casting a wide net on whom/what to blame.
At the Republican candidates' debate in Milwaukee in August, she said: “If you want to go and really change the environment, then we need to start telling China and India that they have to lower their emissions. That’s where our problem is.”
The truth is the United States ranks behind China and ahead of India as the top three emitters of CO2 gases into the Earth’s atmosphere: the main source of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
Haley was born in Bamberg, S.C., to well-educated Indian immigrant parents.
Her policy positions include doing more to fix “our broken immigration system” but she says she opposes open borders.
“We must fix our broken immigration system. That means stopping illegal immigration. And it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries,” Haley said in the 2016 Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.
“No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country,” Haley added.
Sitting alongside Trump in the Oval Office after she resigned from the U.N. post, Haley praised the Trump’s administration’s foreign policy, saying “the U.S. is respected.”
“Countries may not like what we do, but they respect what we do,” she said.
Jan. 6, 2021, Attack on U.S. Capitol
Haley did not hold back on blaming Trump for the mayhem that led to five deaths, thousands of arrests and a crisis in governing, the likes of which the U.S. has never experienced.
“I think he’s lost any sort of political viability he was going to have…,” Haley told Politico about Trump a week after the attacks. “He’s not going to run for federal office again. … I don’t think he’s going to be in the picture. … I don’t think he can. He’s fallen so far.”
However, as time passed, Haley tempered her remarks about the Jan. 6 attacks and Trump.
“We need him in the Republican Party. I don’t want us to go back to the days before Trump,” Haley told the Wall Street Journal in October 2021.
In September, Haley unveiled her economic proposals, which sounded much like the usual Republican spiel; cut taxes on the middle-class, reduce “reckless” federal government spending and bring down inflation.
Haley, who has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Clemson University, often touts her financial background on the campaign trail, telling voters, “It’s time to put an accountant in the White House.”
“My tax cuts will put thousands of dollars in middle-class families’ pockets,” she has said.
“Joe Biden has created a political subsidy economy. That’s what Bidenomics really is. The government is taking money from the middle class and giving it to everyone else. The well-connected are getting wealthier through corporate welfare, while the poor get trapped in regular welfare,” Haley said in September at St. Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester.
Haley’s economic plans also call for implementing Social Security and Medicare reforms for younger generations.
Haley’s policy positions include supporting U.S. aid to Ukraine as being crucial to American security and preventing Russian President Vladimir Putin from aggressively moving on other European nations.
“This is bigger than Ukraine,” Haley said at a CNN town hall in Iowa in June. “This is a war about freedom, and it's one we have to win.”
“China was military stronger — militarily stronger — when President Trump left office than when he entered. That's bad,” Haley said during a speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in June.
She says the United States needs to modernize its military and end trade relations until China takes greater action on fentanyl.
Haley says it's not a matter of if, but when, China invades Taiwan. She advocates the United States doing more to help Taiwan militarily. “There is nothing China fears more than knowing that America will have Taiwan’s back,” Haley said at the November candidates’ debate in Miami.
Haley had supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while she was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
But at a voter gathering in Derry, N.H., Nov. 29, Haley said: “It was always the Palestinians and Iran opposing a two-state solution. They never wanted that because they wanted to eliminate Israel altogether.”
“Whatever Israel says they feel like will keep them safe, I will support,” she later added.
As U.S. U.N. ambassador, Haley blocked the appointment of a Palestinian envoy, helped force the withdrawal of a United Nations report that described the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians as “apartheid” and walked out of a Security Council meeting during a Palestinian official’s speech, according to a NewsNation report