eye on 2024

Nikki Haley teases White House run in speech to pro-Israel group

‘The next president will shred’ a new Iran deal ‘on her first day in office,’ the former U.N. ambassador said in a speech at the Christians United for Israel summit in Washington

Christians United For Israel

Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley

Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley teased a potential run for the White House in 2024 in a speech on Monday at a gathering hosted by Christians United for Israel just outside of Washington, D.C.

Speaking about the possibility of a new Iran deal at the group’s annual summit, Haley, the Republican former governor of South Carolina, said, with a grin and a wink, “If this president signs any sort of deal, I’ll make you a promise, the next president will shred it on her first day in office” (formatting from a pre-delivery copy of Haley’s speech obtained by Jewish Insider).

Haley’s comments were met with loud cheers and a standing ovation from an audience of more than 1,000. “Just saying, sometimes it takes a woman,” she quipped following the applause, deviating from the prepared remarks.

Haley has long been thought to have presidential ambitions, and said earlier this month in Iowa — a frequent destination for presidential hopefuls — that she would run for president in 2024 “if there’s a place for me.”

Much of the discourse around the 2024 Republican field has revolved around whether former President Donald Trump will make another bid for the White House. Haley told the Wall Street Journal last October that she would consult with the former president about her plans and “we would work on it together,” but did not explicitly rule out running against Trump, as she had previously in April 2021.

In her remarks to CUFI, Haley also expounded on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which she called “a reminder that evil is real and it needs to be confronted.”

“We have a duty to support Ukraine,” she said, going on to blame the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “If America hadn’t failed so miserably in Afghanistan, there never would have been a war in Ukraine.”

Haley opined that she did not think President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East last week “went well” and accused the president of being insufficiently willing to use force against Iran to prevent the regime from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Biden said during his trip to the Middle East last week that military force would be a “last resort.” 

“A bluff is exactly what it sounds like right now. It’s embarrassing. America should always speak with strength,” she said. “Clearly, the prime minister [of Israel] doesn’t believe the president of the United States. And neither does Iran. Our allies don’t trust us and our enemies don’t fear us.”

In lieu of a deal, Haley said, “If it ever looks like Iran is close to getting a nuclear weapon, we must act, swiftly and decisively,” and, “At a minimum, we should give Israel everything it needs to defend itself and destroy Iran’s nuclear program.”

She also said that the U.S. “need[s] to work with” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.