Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Saturday slammed Donald Trump directly ahead of his remarks at the Jewish Coalition Conference, attacking the former president for past and recent comments on foreign adversaries.
“There are plenty of Democrats and Republicans who fail to understand the nature of the threats we face. You’ve already heard from some of them today. And I’m not today’s last speaker,” Haley said, a nod to Trump taking the stage directly after her. Some in the crowd laughed.
Haley, taking the stage in Las Vegas amid an escalating crisis in Gaza and fears of widespread unrest in the Middle East, praised Trump for a number of foreign policy moves he made as president, including his abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal, his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his administration’s brokering of the Abraham Accords.
“History will record that Donald Trump was a pro-Israel president,” said Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations under the Trump administration. “I’m happy to give President Trump the credit he deserves. And I was honored to have played a part in those efforts.”
But she quickly pivoted into a string of attacks, criticizing Republicans — including Trump — who question support for Ukraine today and, ultimately she said, future support for Israel. She said these politicians have lost sight of who the country’s friends versus enemies are, adding that is “not who you want in the Oval Office.”
“As Americans, we need to ask a critical question. We all know what Trump did in the past. The question is, what will he do in the future?” Haley said.
Among the other GOP 2024 candidates at the convening, Haley hit Trump the hardest, and most directly. The former South Carolina governor has seen a rise in the polls in recent months, sliding into third place behind Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Haley also struck Trump for his recent comments on Hezbollah and referenced previous remarks, such as the former president referring to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un as his “friend” and his praising of China’s President Xi Jinping.
“These are not good or smart people. Along with Iran’s ayatollah, they’re the most evil dictators in the world. And the last thing they want is an American president who knows it and calls them out on it,” Haley said. “They want us to stay divided, distracted, and morally confused. Well, I’ve said it before. With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”