CLEMSON, SC (AP) — Nikki Haley, UN ambassador under President Donald Trump, said Tuesday she would take the Christmas vacation to consider a possible 2024 presidential bid, contradicting her statement last year that she would not enter the race if Trump opted to run again.
“We’re taking the vacation to kind of look at the situation,” the former South Carolina governor said at an event at her alma mater, Clemson University, sponsored by Turning Point USA. “If we decide to go for it, we’ll put 1,000% into it and we’ll finish it.”
The comments paralleled Haley’s remarks at last week’s Republican Jewish Coalition rally in Las Vegas, where she was among 10 potential White House Republican hopefuls to make their presentation at the cycle’s first major GOP conference. election of 2024.
“I’ve never lost an election, and I’m not going to start now,” Haley said, in a phrase she repeated Tuesday at Clemson.
But Haley’s new tone is in stark contrast to April 2021, when she answered “yes” when asked during a visit to a historically black university in her home state if she would support a future presidential campaign of Trump. Haley also noted that she would not seek her party’s nomination if Trump also ran.
“I wouldn’t show up if President Trump showed up, and I would talk to him about it,” Haley said at the time, when asked by The Associated Press if a possible offer from Trump could thwart his own efforts, if he announced it in first. “That’s something we’ll have a conversation about at some point, if that decision is something that needs to be made.”
Haley’s staffers declined Tuesday to comment on whether such a conversation took place, or what caused Haley to change her tune about what 2024 might hold for her, now that Trump is officially in the race.
Haley, who served as governor of South Carolina for six years before Trump asked her to join his cabinet, served as a UN ambassador for two years before leaving of her own accord. The coming years included moves that signaled a possible bid for a higher position, including returning to South Carolina, launching a political action committee, and publishing 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 criticism and praise of the former President. Following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, Haley said Trump was “grossly wrong” to stir up the crowd before the riot and that his “actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by the story”.
Since then, Haley has promoted the administration’s accomplishments and even defended her former boss as “stubborn,” as she did at the start of 2021.
A Trump campaign spokesperson did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday on Haley’s remarks. Taylor Budowich, a former Trump spokesperson now working for his super PAC, MAGA Inc., dismissed Haley as “unfortunate to see politicians that President Trump has relevantly used in 2024 as life support for their political career”.
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