Haley attacks Biden, Trump and China in New Hampshire town hall

Former U.N. ambassador and GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley called for new leadership rebuking Donald Trump and Joe Biden during her USA Today New Hampshire Town Hall Thursday.

“We all need to acknowledge that it is time for a new generation of leader,” Haley said in response to a question about comments made by Donald Trump about Israel Wednesday night. “We have to leave the negativity, the chaos and the baggage of the past.”

Haley spoke to voters at a full Exeter Town Hall in Exeter and in her opening remarks Haley criticized Biden and questioned his fitness for duty saying, “‘we need people who are at the top of their game.”

What did Haley say about foreign policy?

Haley positioned China as the primary adversary of the country saying that the country was the biggest threat since World War II.

“They have been planning war with us for years,” Haley said. “China has grown it [the Chinese military] at a dangerous pace.”

She also pointed to the fentanyl crisis tying it to China saying, “don’t think for a second China doesn’t know what they are doing when they send it [fentanyl] over.”

Haley voiced support for Israel’s military offensive against Hamas, noting that , “while we have their back now that they’ve been hit, what’s more important is that we have their back when they hit back.” Haley a called Iran, “the backer of Hamas.”

What did Haley say about domestic issues?

Haley avoided answering a question about signing a potential federal abortion ban citing the filibuster in the Senate and appealing to consensus.

“Our collective goal is to save as many babies as possible and support as many moms as possible,” Haley said.

Haley promised that if elected she would take a hardline position on illegal immigration, stating her administration would have a policy of “catch and deport” and said, “we will defund sanctuary cities once and for all.”

Haley stated that she would propose a “merit” based immigration policy with input from business sectors. She pointed to a prison work training program she implemented while governor of South Carolina saying that it broke generational cycles of crime.

Haley also called for members of Congress to lose pay if a budget is not produced on time, tax cuts for small businesses and took a hardline position on school choice and parents rights.

Haley also proposed reforms for veteran’s health care, proposing that Congressmembers receive their healtcare from the Veteran’s Administration so that veterans would receive adequate health care.

“You watch how fast that gets fixed,” Hayley said. “It’ll be the best health care you’ve ever seen.”

Who is Nikki Haley?

Haley became South Carolina’s first female and Asian American governor when she was elected in 2010; she won reelection in 2014. Before that she spent six years in the South Carolina legislature.

In 2017, Haley served as Trump’s U.N. ambassador. In 2018 she unexpectedly stepped down.

Haley is a pro-life Republican and a supporter of Israel. She supports cracking down on illegal immigration. Haley did not support legislation in South Carolina that would have required transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender assigned at birth.

While Haley has supported Trump in the past, she has also criticized Trump, including after the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection. Haley once said she would not support Trump’s ban on Muslim immigration. Yet she supported Trump when he blocked people from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. “It’s not a Muslim ban,” Haley said at the time.

What did Haley do as United Nations ambassador?

During her tenure at the United Nations, Haley announced sanctions against Russia—a move that rankled White House aides. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow suggested Haley had “momentary confusion” over the Trump administration’s actions.

“With all due respect, I don’t get confused,” Haley replied.

In June 2018 Haley announced the U.S. was pulling out of the UN Human Rights Council. “I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from our human rights commitments,” Haley said.

What did Haley do as governor of South Carolina?

One of Haley’s most notable acts as governor came in 2015 when Haley signed a bill ordering the removal of the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds following the killing of nine Black worshipers at the Emanuel AME Church by a white supremacist.

The Confederate flag has long been considered a sign of slavery.

“It’s time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds,” Haley said during a June 22 news conference.

Another act that Haley made with long term implications: She appointed Tim Scott to replace retiring Senator Jim DeMint in 2012.

In 2016, she gave the Republican response to former President Barack Obama’s State of the Union. One topic she made sure to discuss: immigration.

“We must fix our broken immigration system. That means stopping illegal immigration,” said Haley. “And it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries.”

That same year, Time named her one of the 100 most influential people. Fellow S.C. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham wrote a description on Haley for the magazine.

Where is Haley in the polls?

Haley has made a surge in the polls with strong debate performances, poll aggregators 538 and Real Clear Politics have behind former president Donald Trump in fourth and third respectively. Real Clear Politics has Haley in second in New Hampshire averaging 14.2%.

Hayley reached 16% in a New Hampshire poll by USA TODAY/Boston Globe/Suffolk University.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nikki Haley calls for new generation of leaders at USA Today town hall

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