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Nikki Haley says Ron DeSantis didn’t go ‘far enough’ with Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

Haley told the crowd at a town hall in New Hampshire that conversations about gender should be banned in elementary schools altogether

Andrea Blanco
Saturday 18 February 2023 18:37 GMT
Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley officially announces 2024 presidential run

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill doesn’t go “far enough”.

In an interview with Fox News Digital following a town hall in New Hampshire on Thursday, Ms Haley criticised Mr DeSantis’ controversial legislation, saying that conversations about gender and sexual orientation should be banned in elementary schools altogether.

“I think Ron’s been a good governor. I just think that third grade’s too young,” Ms Haley said in reference to the “Parental Rights in Education” law signed by Mr DeSantis last year, which covers kindergarten through third-grade classrooms. “We should not be talking to kids in elementary school about gender, period.”

“And if you are going to talk to kids about it, you need to get the parents’ permission to do that ... That is something between a parent and a child. That is not something that schools need to be teaching,” Ms Haley also told the network.

Ms Haley, who served as South Carolina governor from 2011 to 2017 and announced her 2024 presidential on Wednesday, voiced similar remarks to the crowd at the town hall in Exeter, noting that Mr DeSantis’ legislation “doesn’t go far enough”.

“Basically, what it said was you shouldn’t be able to talk about gender before third grade,” she said. “I’m sorry, I don’t think that goes far enough.”

“When I was in school you didn’t have sex ed until seventh grade. And even then, your parents had to sign whether you could take the class.

Ms Haley launched her candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination in a speech on 15 February in Charleston, South Carolina.

She is the daughter of Indian immigrants and is known in the Republican Party as a solid conservative poised to address issues of gender and race.

Ms Haley, 51, served in the Trump administration as US ambassador to the United Nations and has not broken with him on any major issues.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Trump campaign linked to stories in which Ms Haley expressed her admiration for Hillary Clinton, supported Paul Ryan’s plans to cut programmes like Social Security and Medicare, and opposed ending birthright citizenship, among other items.

In polling by Reuters/Ipsos released on Tuesday, Mr Trump support sat at 43 per cent, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at 31 per cent and Ms Haley at four per cent.

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