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Nikki Haley calls for ‘new generation’ of leaders in move away from Trump

Ex-ambassador has tried to distance herself from administration she once resigned as governor to join

John Bowden
Washington DC
Sunday 29 January 2023 22:38 GMT
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Nikki Haley hints at 2024 presidential run

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley took a veiled shot at both former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden over their shared dreams of seeking the presidency in 2024.

The ex-Trump administration official was being interviewed on Fox News when she took the opportunity to say that a “young generation” of leadership was needed in Washington.

“I think we need a young generation to come in, step up and really start fixing things,” she said, adding: “Can I be that leader? Yes, I think I can be that leader.”

The phrase has taken on sort of a double meaning in Washington; it refers to the very real truth about America’s graying political leadership, while also serving typically to reveal the ambitions of whoever brings it up to supplant those graying leaders.

It’s no coincidence, then, that Ms Haley would be heard using it: She is widely thought to be preparing a run for the presidency herself in 2024, even as polling shows her currently supported by only a single-digit percentage of the GOP voting base.

And she’s far from alone in that regard: Her colleague and apparent rival, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is also taking strides to make preparations for what looks to be a 2024 bid.

Ms Haley exited the Trump administration early on, and therefore had long been absent from the West Wing when the January 6 attack on Congress broke out just days before the end of Mr Trump’s presidency. She condemned the attack at the time and proclaimed that Mr Trump would have “no future” in the Republican Party, an awkward statement given that he is currently a leading candidate for the party’s 2024 nomination himself.

Despite neither of them being in the race officially, she was recently the target of barbed criticism from Mr Pompeo, who accused her of twice abandoning the American people — first as governor of South Carolina, when she resigned to work in the Trump administration, and second in 2018 when she left her post as UN ambassador.

“She has described her role as going toe-to-toe with tyrants,” he wrote in his newly-released memoir. “If so, then why would she quit such an important job at such an important time?”

He would go on to accuse her, in a conversation that supposedly took place before her 2018 resignation, of trying to replace Mike Pence as the vice presidential nominee for Mr Trump’s failed 2020 bid. Ms Haley would call that claim “lies and gossip” in the same Fox interview.

“I don’t know why he said it, but that’s exactly why I stayed out of D.C. as much as possible, to get away from the drama,” she told Bret Baier.

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