Nikki Haley, 2024 GOP Presidential candidate, Former U.S. Ambassador To The UN and Former South Carolina Governor joined the Guy Benson Show to discuss her big night at the first 2024 Republican Presidential Debate on Fox. Nikki Haley and Guy Benson also discussed her viral abortion answer, saying that there needs to be common ground found in order to “save babies lives.” Haley also continued to criticize Vivek Ramaswamy, calling his comments on foreign policy “naïve”.
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Guy Benson: That was a moment from Wednesday’s debate. You have no foreign policy experience and it shows. Nikki Haley to Vivek Ramaswamy got a big cheer after that moment and the star of that clip, Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and current presidential candidate; she is with us right now. And Governor, welcome back to the show.
Nikki Haley: Thanks so much, Guy. It’s great to be back on with you.
Guy Benson: It was great to see you in Milwaukee the next morning. You were obviously feeling pretty good about how the debate went. And now we’ve seen some of the polling, some of the fundraising. Obviously, you had a night.
Nikki Haley: We did. And, you know, I think it’s important because I think the debates, you know, they start off the election season, and I think it’s great when Americans get to see what their options are side by side. And, you know, while it was a bit of a scrum at times and a little bit chaotic, I mean, at least it’s the start of where everybody starts deciding who they want to lead this country in 2025. And we are going to continue to do the hard work. We’re going to continue to try and earn the support of Americans because we have a country to save. I mean, you look at our economy, I hear every day about how, you know, regular Americans are struggling to buy their groceries. Gas is more expensive. You’ve got 50% of American families can’t afford diapers. Child care is on the rise. It’s harder to buy a home. I mean, there’s just a lot going on with the economy. And I think, you know, it’s time for us to get things back on track.
Guy Benson: What is the response that you’re seeing internally? We’ll talk about the Washington Post poll a little bit later in the show where you had definitely a clear surge among Republicans who watched the debate. I saw that you’ve also been raking in some money. Some people open up their wallets, having watched you on the debate stage. How are you guys experiencing that at the campaign?
Nikki Haley: It’s… still the phones are ringing off the hook. I mean, we really I could not be more grateful. The phones have been ringing off the hook. We got Americans from all over the country who have been supporting and donating to the campaign. We’ve had people call us, tell us that, you know, they felt like they saw the leadership that our country needs. And, you know, it’s good. And, you know, we want people to understand we have a vision. Our vision is not for four years or eight years. It’s to create a, you know, a plan that’s going to take us 20 and 30 years out, whether that’s the focus on our economic plan or whether it’s on how we’re going to get education back on track or how we’re going to secure our border or what we’re going to do in terms of foreign policy and our national security. And I think that’s what we need. You know, we’ve had enough distractions, and I think that it’s time for a new generational conservative leader. We tried to show that as best we could on the debate stage, but we’re going to continue to show that as we campaign around the country and and really work to get America back on track.
Guy Benson: I do want to ask you about that sound bite that we played coming into the segment. There are some maybe quite a few Republican and conservative voters who might say, actually, maybe it’s not a bad thing for someone not to have a lot of foreign policy experience, because the foreign policy crowd is sort of like this monolithic blob in D.C. and they’re neo-cons and they love war and all of that. So maybe someone who’s fresh with different ideas, maybe it’s time for that. What’s your response to that mentality? Because I know that speaks for a lot of right leaning voters out there right now.
Nikki Haley: I, I, I totally respect that understanding. And I to a certain respect, agree with that. You know, I look at you know, it’s not about the experience, so to speak. I saw a lot of experience at the State Department. And I know they tried to stop us from doing a lot of good things, whether it was pulling out of the Iran deal or pulling out of the Paris climate agreement or pulling out of the UN Human Rights Council or moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. You know, they said no to everything. This was about the fact that, you know, Ramaswamy’s comments were naive. They were flat out naive. The idea that we would defund Israel misses the entire thought of, “it’s not that Israel needs us. We need Israel.” We should never be. You know, the idea that he wants to hand Ukraine over to Russia and thinks that just by giving them what they want and that Ukraine would agree to it, that Russia will suddenly walk away from China. Russia and China have made it very clear in front of the eyes of the world when they shook hands and named themselves unlimited partners. It’s naive to think that Putin is just going to walk away. What he’ll do is lie to you and say he will, but he’s not going to do that. You know, it’s nice. You know.
Guy Benson: He would never lie, Governor. I mean, he told Prigozhin he’d be fine.
Nikki Haley: Exactly right. And look at where that got it. And so it was just it was just that naive thought that, you know, don’t assume that our enemies are just going to do whatever you say and do it. But more than that Guy, let’s not be so narcissistic to think that America doesn’t need allies. We need allies. Ukraine is the fight of the you know, is preventing war with us by actually being the front line of everything going into Russia. Because Putin has said once they take Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics are next world. Those are NATO’s countries, and that puts us in a war. I am the wife of a combat veteran. My husband, Michael, is deployed right now. The last thing any military family wants is to see their loved ones go to war. So my focus is constantly on prevention. That’s why it’s important that we remember that a win for Russia is a win for China. And when Ukraine wins and we need to finish this quickly when they win it. It will send the biggest message to China on Taiwan. It will send a message to Iran. It wants to build a bomb, will send a message to North Korea testing ballistic missiles. But, you know, for him to say give Ukraine to Russia and for him to say, oh, let’s stick with Taiwan as long as we can get chips in America and then we can cut them loose. You don’t do that with allies because we need allies as much as allies need us.
Guy Benson: Yeah, it’s kind of an odd thing to cast yourself as the anti-CCP, the China Hawk on the stage and be like, Oh, and by the way, that that prize that they want in Taiwan they can have it on this date in this year effectively is what he’s argued. Then he sort of backtracked from some of that. I do just want to come back to one thing that you said when you and you made the same point on the debate stage as well. Israel does need us. I think, as a strong ally, you’re making the case that we need them too. Some Americans might say, well, they’re a tiny country far away. They take a lot of our foreign aid. Why exactly do we need them? What’s the what’s the explanation there?
Nikki Haley: Israel is a bright spot in a tough neighborhood. We share the same values. It’s a democracy. But they are actually the ones that keep Iran at bay. They’re the ones that are the front line of defense when it comes to dealing with Islamic terrorism. And so when we don’t give Israel aid, we partner with Israel. We partner with them to have the Iron Dome so that when Islamic terrorists try and do things, they one can tell us what’s going on, but two, they can stop it. We partner with them because we’ve got to convince the rest of the Arab community that we want peace. And the only way we have peace is to defeat Iran. And so you have to have the backs of your allies. And you know what I said and I really believe it is the American president needs to have moral clarity. You have to be able to see the difference between right and wrong. You have to be able to acknowledge good from evil. And when you do that, you always go on the side of good. You always go on the side of right. And it’s it’s not only morally right for them, it’s morally right for us. And we have to make sure we’re doing that. And, you know, keep in mind, I understand that there is a divide on whether we should, you know, be funding Ukraine. First of all, I don’t think we should be giving any blank check to Ukraine. I’ve never wanted to put troops on the ground. What I’ve said is they need to have the military equipment and ammunition to win. If Biden would have acted sooner, I don’t even think we would have been in a war. But the debacle in Afghanistan gave Putin the green light. But what I do think is we need to tell the American people the truth. You know, Vivek is implying that you have to either choose, you know, whether to fight Russia with Ukraine or you have to choose closing the border. That’s not true. We can do both and we should do both. We should do multiple things at one time. We should totally secure the border. But what we’ve given to Ukraine is almost three and a half percent of our defense budget. If you looked at percentage of GDP, 11 countries, 11 European countries have spent more than the United States. That’s a small price to pay to prevent war, because if Russia goes and starts moving into Poland and the Baltics, we’re going to spend a whole lot more money trying to defend ourselves.
Guy Benson: Because we’re obligated to under the treaty, right under NATO. So, I mean, that that is a key point. You mentioned moral clarity and the importance of that for a president. A big moral issue that I also think is an ethical issue, a science issue, an issue involving human rights, women’s rights, is abortion. It’s a tough one. You and I are both pro-life. I think you and I also share a conviction that in order to advance the pro-life ball in society, you have to persuade people and win hearts and minds, not actively turn people off. And I’m afraid that Republicans, too often, especially in the last two years, have just buried their heads in the sand saying, let’s just not talk about it and see how that goes, or let’s kind of not modulate our tone at all, even though a lot of swing voters are saying, oh, we’re not so sure about this. Well, also, you know, of course, the press is letting the Democrats get away with a lot of nonsense and untrue things and ducked their own radicalism on it. You made that point on the stage, but you had an interesting back and forth with former Vice President Mike Pence on the issue of abortion. Both of you are pro-life. There’s there’s no doubting that. But there was a difference about moral leadership and the approach on an issue like abortion. You were the only female candidate on the stage. You were trying to talk about consensus. I thought it was a really smart answer, and I said so on the show here yesterday. But I also get where Pence is coming from as well on the ethics and the morals that are underpinning the reason why we’re pro-life. Now that you think back on that back and forth, like what are your reflections on it? Why do you think your approach is the correct one?
Nikki Haley: Well, you know, first of all, I think that I was speaking truly from the heart. I mean, I am pro-life, not because the Republican Party tells me to be. Michael, my husband, was adopted and I had trouble having both of my children. So it is very personal and I am surrounded by blessings. But I don’t judge anyone for being pro-choice any more than I want them to judge me for being pro-life. I think it was right that we don’t that we no longer have unelected justices deciding something this personal, because it’s personal for every woman and every man. And so I was glad when I saw that that was sent back down to the hands of the people to let the people decide. On the issue of a federal law, though, you know, the rest of the fellows on the stage, I don’t think they’re handling it right and I don’t think they’re being honest with the American people. And I wanted the American people to know the truth. In order to do a federal law, you have to have the majority of the House and 60 Senate votes. We haven’t had 60 Senate votes, Guy, in over 100 years. We might have 45 pro-life senators. So the reality is you can’t you’re not going to have a Republican president who is able to ban abortion any more than you’re going to have a Democrat president who can ban these state laws. So if our goal is to save as many babies as we can and support as many moms as we can, the only way to do that is to find consensus. And I think we can find consensus on the idea that we should we should ban late term abortions. I think we can find consensus on the fact that we should encourage adoptions and good quality adoptions. I think we can find consensus that doctors and nurses who don’t believe in abortion shouldn’t have to perform them. I think we can find consensus on the fact that contraception should be accessible, and I think we can find consensus on the fact that no state law should say any woman who’s had an abortion is going to go to jail or get the death penalty. Let’s start there. But what I want to do is humanize the situation. I’m not going to be a part of demonizing it. We’ve had people hate each other over this for too long. Everybody has a story. I had a roommate in college who was raped. I wouldn’t wish on anyone what she went through, wondering if she was pregnant. Let’s make sure we’re moving in the direction of how do we do that. And the reality is you can talk about all the weeks that you want, but if we don’t have 60 Senate votes, you’re not saving babies and you’re not supporting moms. We have to see where we can come together. And I would love if the media would ask Kamala and Biden if they’re for 37, 38 or 39 weeks, because no one’s asked them that.
Guy Benson: And the answer apparently is yes, based on their voting record, based on their rhetoric, based on the legislation that they support. And I know people gaslight like, oh, no one supports that. Well actually the Democratic Party in Washington, D.C. does, which is is horrifying to me. Governor Haley, I want to ask you on one more subject. Obviously, the day after the debate yesterday, there was this big event down in Georgia. Another booking of the former president. This is indictment number four. The difference or one of the differences this time is the mug shot. It’s everywhere. I’m sure you’ve seen it many times over already. What was your reaction, your feeling when you first saw that mug shot of the former president of the United States under arrest?
Nikki Haley: I thought it was a sad day for America. I thought it was disgraceful. You know, I can’t believe that we have a 77 year old former president who had to give a mug shot. And, you know, all of this is just it shows how far we’ve fallen. And, you know, there’s nothing good about that. No one should feel good about that. And, you know, again, I don’t know if this is the third, fourth, fifth indictment. That’s not the focus of what American people are talking about. The American people are talking about the fact that they need inflation to come down. They’re talking about the fact that, you know, we need law and order back on our streets. They want to see transparency in the classroom. They want to get a secure border and they want a foreign policy plan that’s going to keep America safe. But look, I was honored to serve in the Trump administration. I think we did a lot of good foreign policy work. I support a lot of his positions. But I think that it was just incredibly sad and disgraceful that we that we have come down to this. I just think it was wrong.
Guy Benson: Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina, former United States ambassador to the United Nations. She’s running for president as a Republican. And based on the buzz and the polls and the fundraising, she had a good week and a good night on Wednesday on that stage in front of a lot of people. Very big audience on Fox News. Governor, we always appreciate your time. We look forward to having you back here soon.
Nikki Haley: Thanks so much. We have a country to save. Go to NikkiHaley.com and join us.
Guy Benson: That’s Nikki Haley on The Guy Benson Show. We will be right back.