On Thursday, Nikki Haley appeared at a gathering of conservative women in Phoenix to discuss the GOP’s political future and how the party can embrace new voters by adopting a new direction.
While the former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina governor did not disclose her 2024 presidential plans, Haley did hint that she would play an active role in helping Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections.
Due to recent events, a change in strategy may be necessary if the party wishes to maintain relevance in the Grand Canyon State.
During the Arizona special election last year, incumbent Republican Sen. Martha McSally lost her seat to Democrat Mark Kelly. In the presidential election that same year, Arizona went blue for the first time since 1996.
According to the former ambassador, there is a lot at stake for Republicans going forward. But Haley was not without ideas for how party members could work together and “get the job done.”
Diversity in the Republican Party
“Every day that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is in office is another day that Republicans unite,” Haley said.
“I mean, they continue to be the blessing for the Republicans because they’re reminding us that elections have consequences. And we’re feeling the consequences of that last election.”
But if the Republican party wants to secure more voter support, then Haley believes it must reach beyond its traditional base. In fact, she cited the party’s failure to do so as the primary cause of Republican losses in the national popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections.
“There’s no reason we aren’t going out there talking to Hispanics, the Jewish community, the Asian community, African-Americans,” she said. “I know it can be done because I did it in South Carolina.”
“The key is, you don’t go to them and say, ‘You should be with us.’ You go to them and say, ‘What do you care about?'”
“There are so many of the issues that we all agree on, but we have to do the hard work and go out there,” Haley said.
“And so we’re really going to try and do that, because not only that, if we grow our tent, not only does it make it make us a stronger party, it will make us a better country.”
Does the GOP Need Trump?
Haley went on to address her reportedly strained relationship with former President Donald Trump, weighing in on whether the GOP had a place for his bombastic personality going forward.
Explaining that she knew Trump while serving as South Carolina’s governor, Haley went on to say that she accepted the U.N. post after initially turning down the secretary of State position.
She only agreed to assume the ambassadorship after securing Trump’s word that she could work directly with him and have input on policy decisions. The former governor also said that she was not a “wallflower” — so, another condition she insisted on was the freedom to speak her mind.
According to Haley, the last condition had resulted not in pushback, but enthusiasm from the president-elect.
“Nikki, that’s exactly why I want you to do this,” Trump had apparently responded.
While the former ambassador said that she had a “great working relationship” with Trump, she also insisted that she was not afraid to disagree with him.
“I told him the truth,” she said. “When he wanted to do something and it was good, I supported it. I rallied. I got out there, I helped him. I did everything I could.
“When he was doing something that I thought was wrong, I met with him or called him and said, ‘You can’t do this. But instead, you could do X, Y or Z.’”
Trump’s insistence that the presidential election was stolen from him, for example, is one of the areas where Haley diverged from the former president. But Haley also said that she considers Trump a friend, even if she does not agree with him “100 percent of the time.”
In regard to future collaboration between Trump and the GOP, the former ambassador said that she believes Trump will serve as an “important force” for the party in 2022.
Are Republicans Going to Be OK?
At the conclusion of the speech, Haley appeared positive about the Republican Party’s chances in 2022, and she discussed the steps she intends to take to propel it forward.
Whether Haley plans to make a run for the White House or not, one thing appears certain: Arizonians can probably expect to see more of her going into 2022.
“What you will see me do is fight to win ’22. That’s what matters. That’s what I care about,” Haley said. “I want us to win the House back. It’s only six seats. We can do that. The Senate is going to be tougher.”
The former ambassador noted that the 2022 Arizona Senate race will be a “big one.” But Haley promised the group of conservative women that they could expect to see her return to the state to help Republicans regain the Senate and hold onto the governor’s office.
To accomplish these goals, however, Haley said the women’s involvement would be necessary to “get us back on track.”
“But the future is bright,” she added.
“Don’t give up hope. I have faith. I need you to have faith.”
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