'No drama, no vendettas’: Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley visits Raleigh, outlines policy platform

<p>Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks to supporters at Union Hall in Raleigh, N.C.</p>

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks to supporters at Union Hall in Raleigh, N.C.

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina, visited Raleigh Saturday to speak to a crowd of supporters in Union Station. 

North Carolina and 14 other states will hold primary elections Tuesday, a critical day in which 36% of Republican delegates are at stake. A High Point University poll released Friday showed that former president Donald Trump is leading the Republican presidential primary race with 69% of the vote, while Haley trails behind at 24%. 

Haley decisively lost to Trump in recent primary elections in South Carolina and Michigan, though she reiterated Friday that she would promise to stay in the race through Tuesday’s elections.

Saturday’s rally followed Haley’s Friday visit to Charlotte, where she spoke to supporters about her goals of fixing the federal budget and national economy.

Before the rustic backdrop of Union Hall, Haley addressed a crowd of over 350, many of whom held signs reading “Pick Nikki” and “Nikki Haley for President.”

Haley opened her speech by decrying the national debt, citing that federal spending on interest payments is set to surpass federal defense spending in 2024. Haley attributed responsibility for the debt to both the Biden administration and the $2.2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill passed during the Trump administration.

“You feel it — your paycheck doesn’t go as far, your grocery bill is a whole lot higher, so are your utility bills,” she said.

She then outlined her plan to balance the budget, saying she would veto any spending bills that didn’t return the budget to pre-pandemic levels. 

Other economic policies she advocated for included tax cuts for the middle class, making the small business tax cuts permanent, eliminating the federal gas and diesel tax and sending “as many federal programs as we can” to the state level.

Haley then shifted her focus to arguing for mental competency tests for politicians over the age of 75. “We all know people over 75 that can run circles around us — and then we know Joe Biden,” Haley joked.

Haley then described her vision for addressing the southern border, which has seen a recent surge in illegal border encounters. She called for a national e-verify program for businesses to prove that their employees are in the country legally, the defunding of “sanctuary cities,” putting “25,000 border patrol and ICE agents on the ground,” reimplementing the “Remain in Mexico” policy, instituting a “catch and deport” policy and strengthening asylum laws.

“We had more fentanyl cross the border last year that would kill every single American.” she said. In 2023, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced the seizure of over 386 million deadly doses of fentanyl.

Haley then transitioned to discussing the experiences of military veterans. “We can’t just love our men and women when they’re gone,” she said. “We’ve got to love them when they come back home, too.”

Citing that one in three veterans suffers from PTSD or thoughts of suicide, Haley criticized the Veterans Health Administration, pointing to long wait times and frequent rescheduling.

“I think every member of Congress should have to get their health care from the VA, and you watch how fast that gets fixed,” she said.

Haley then discussed national security issues, saying that the “world is on fire — literally,” citing the Russia-Ukraine war, the Israel-Hamas war, North Korea’s testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles, Chinese cyberattacks on American infrastructure and Russia reportedly building a satellite-blinding laser.

“Make no mistake, none of that would have happened had we not had that debacle in Afghanistan,” she said. Haley elaborated that the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan sent the wrong message to America’s allies and enemies. 

Haley then lambasted Trump for saying he “would stand with Putin and encourage him to invade our allies,” referencing Trump’s comments at a rally in February that he told an unidentified NATO member that he would “encourage” Russia to do “whatever the hell they want” if the member didn’t meet the trans-Atlantic alliance’s defense spending targets.

“Trump is willing to side with a dictator who kills his political opponents. Trump is willing to side with a thug who arrests American journalists and holds them hostage,” she said. “Trump is willing to side with a tyrant who has made no bones about wanting to destroy America. And Trump is going to side with a madman over our allies who stood with us after 9/11?” 

Haley made the case that the country should continue to support Ukraine with the goal of “preventing war” and further Russian aggression in Poland and the Baltics, arguing that this could be done while also supporting Israel and “securing the border.”

Haley then shifted the topic to electoral polling, citing polls that show most Americans don’t want Trump or Biden, with 59% of Americans thinking Trump and Biden are too old to be president.

She also pointed to a recent Marquette poll which places Haley 18 percentage points above Joe Biden in a head-to-head general election. In contrast, Trump leads Biden by 4 percentage points in the same category. Notably, the same poll places Haley 58 percentage points below Donald Trump in the GOP primary.

“Now is the time we need a new generational leader that can put in eight years, day and night, fixing the things we need fixed with no negativity, no drama, no vendettas — just real results for the American people,” Haley said.

Michael Austin profile
Michael Austin | Associate News Editor

Michael Austin is a Trinity sophomore and an associate news editor for the news department.  

Jazper Lu profile
Jazper Lu | Managing Editor

Jazper Lu is a Trinity junior and managing editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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