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Decision 2024

Decision 2024: Nikki Haley says she’ll vote for Trump — but doesn’t quite endorse him

The former ambassador to the U.N. painted Trump as dangerous and unstable on the campaign trail, saying, “I feel no need to kiss the ring.”


This story was originally published by The 19th

Nikki Haley, who questioned former President Donald Trump’s fitness to serve as president when she ran against him in the Republican presidential primary, said Wednesday that she plans to vote for Trump in November.

Making her first public remarks since dropping out of the Republican presidential primary race in March, Haley said she’ll prioritize foreign policy, immigration and the economy in deciding who to vote for in November. She was speaking at the Hudson Institute, the conservative think tank where she now serves as the Walter P. Stern chair.

“Trump has not been perfect on these policies. I have said that many, many times. But Biden would be a catastrophe. So, I will be voting for Trump,” said Haley, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Trump. Haley stopped short of wholeheartedly endorsing Trump’s candidacy.

“Having said that, I stand by what I said in my suspension speech. Trump would be smart to reach out to the millions of people who voted for me, and not assume that they’re just going to be with him,” she added.

Haley, also the former governor of South Carolina, became one of Trump’s most vocal critics within his own party and was the last candidate standing in the primary.

Citing her own experience serving in the Trump administration, Haley painted Trump as dangerous and unfit to serve, warning in one ad that where Trump goes, “chaos follows.” She also questioned Trump’s mental fitness, advocating for politicians above a certain age to be subject to mental competency tests.

“Many of the same politicians who publicly embrace Trump privately dread him,” Haley said in a February 20 campaign speech in Greenville, South Carolina. “They know what a disaster he’s been and will continue to be. They are just too afraid to say it out loud. I’m not afraid to say the hard truth out loud. I feel no need to kiss the ring.”

Haley also hit back at mocking comments Trump made questioning the whereabouts of her husband, Michael Haley, who was deployed with the United States Africa Command.

“If you mock the service of a combat veteran, you don’t deserve a driver’s license, let alone being president of the United States,” she said in Feb. 10 remarks on the campaign trail.

In an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” she said Trump’s comments about service members reflected “a pattern of chaos” and irresponsibility.

While Haley fell short in unseating Trump, winning primaries in only Vermont and the District of Columbia, she earned a record number of delegates for a woman running in a Republican presidential primary.

And despite dropping out of the presidential race, Haley has continued to rack up thousands of votes in Republican primaries since March. After she quit the race, President Joe Biden sought to court her supporters, saying in a statement that “there’s a place” in his campaign for them.

On Thursday, Trump told a reporter with News 12 New York that despite a “nasty campaign” between them, he wants Haley to be “on our team in some form, absolutely.”

“I appreciate what she said,” he told the reporter after a rally in the Bronx.


Grace Panetta is a political reporter for The 19th. She previously worked at Insider for four years covering politics with a focus on elections and voting. She holds a degree in political science from Barnard College.