Nikki Haley, ambassador to the United Nations under President Donald Trump, said Tuesday that she would use the Christmas break to consider a possible presidential bid for 2024, contradicting her statement last year that she would not run if Trump decided to decide to run again.
“We’re taking advantage of the holiday to look at the situation,” the former South Carolina governor said during an event at her alma mater, Clemson University, sponsored by Turning Point USA. “If we decide to do this, we will invest 1,000% and see it through.”
The comments echoed Haley’s remarks at last week’s Republican Jewish Coalition meeting in Las Vegas, where she was among 10 potential Republican hopefuls in the White House making their pitches in the GOP’s first major confab of the 2024 election cycle.
“I’ve never lost an election, and I’m not going to start now,” Haley said in a line she repeated Tuesday in Clemson.
But Haley’s new tone is in stark contrast to April 2021, when she replied “yes” when asked if she would support a future Trump presidential campaign during a visit to a historically black university in her home state. Haley then also noted that she would not seek her party’s nomination if Trump were also running.
“I wouldn’t run if President Trump did, and I would talk to him about it,” Haley said when asked by The Associated Press at the time whether a possible bid from Trump might preclude her own efforts if he announced it first . “That’s something we’ll talk about at some point when that decision has to be made.”
Haley’s staff declined to say Tuesday whether such a conversation had taken place or what caused Haley to change her tone about what 2024 may have in store for her now that Trump is officially in the running.
Haley, who was South Carolina’s governor for six years before Trump asked her to join his cabinet, served as a UN ambassador for two years before leaving of her own volition. The years to come included moves that pointed to a possible bid for higher office, including a return to South Carolina, the formation of a political action committee, and the publication of a memoir.
Like other Trump administration officials considering presidential bids, including former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Haley has walked a tightrope between criticizing and praising the former president. Following the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, Haley said Trump was “very wrong” in fueling the crowd before the riot and that his “actions since Election Day have been harshly judged by history.”
Since then, Haley has been promoting the government’s gains, even defending her former boss as “outspoken,” as she did in early 2021.
A Trump campaign spokesman did not immediately respond Tuesday asking for comment on Haley’s remarks. Taylor Budowich, a former Trump spokesman who now works for his super PAC, MAGA Inc., fired Haley by calling it “regrettable” to see politicians President Trump using relevantly as life support for their political careers in 2024 Has.”
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP