Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley argued that only her candidacy for president could remove “chaos” from the country’s leadership in an impassioned argument against former President Trump.
“This country is in chaos,” Haley said at an Iowa candidate forum on Saturday. “But what I know is you don’t defeat Democrat chaos with Republican chaos. And that’s what Donald Trump gives us.”
Haley and rival Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) have increasingly attacked Trump as the first primary vote approaches, with the Iowa Caucus just five weeks away. The pair are neck-and-neck with each other, but both significantly trail Trump in polls.
She said she supported Trump in his first term, but that now is not the time for a second go at his leadership.
“I’ve strongly believed that Donald Trump was the right president at the right time. But rightly or wrongly, chaos follows him,” she said. “And we can’t have a country in disarray in a world on fire and survive this chaos. We have to have a new generational conservative leader.”
Haley has pitched herself as a younger alternative to Trump, who also faces significant legal challenges. The former governor of South Carolina, Trump appointed her to be U.N. ambassador at the beginning of his term.
She painted a bleak picture for Republicans if they risk nominating Trump again.
“We’ve got to acknowledge some hard truths,” she said. “Republicans have lost the last seven out of eight popular votes for president. That’s nothing to be proud of. We should want to win the majority of Americans.”
Polls have shown Haley perform well against President Biden in head-to-head matchups, though she still faces an uphill battle in the remaining GOP primary.
Trump leads the field with about 60 percent support to DeSantis’ 13 percent and Haley’s 12 percent, according to national polling averages.
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