Nikki Haley casts doubt on Republican nomination for Trump; also says ‘we can’t have a President Kamala Harris’

Nikki Haley, one of the two Indian-origin contenders gunning for a Republican nomination in the 2024 US presidential elections, has cast doubt on a nomination for Donald Trump, former US president, because of all the criminal charges the latter is facing, even though “he is innocent until proven guilty”.

Republican contestant for the 2024 US presidential elections, Indian-origin politician Nikki Haley, campaigns in South Carolina, the state where she previously served as governor. Photo courtesy: Instagram/nikkihaley

However, the former governor of South Carolina said that she would back any Republican nominee, because “any Republican is better than what Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are doing”. Haley, whose Indian-origin rival is entrepreneur-politician Vivek Ramaswamy, said that every vote for the Democrat nominee, incumbent US President Joe Biden, would be a vote for Vice-President Kamala Harris.

“I will make sure that that we’re going to pick someone that’s going to beat a President Kamala Harris, because we can’t have a President Kamala Harris, or we’ll never get our country back,” said Haley, whose campaign gained momentum after the Republican primary debate on August 23.

The latest opinion poll released by The Wall Street Journal revealed that Haley, 51, was in the third spot in terms of popularity rating after Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Her fellow Indian American candidate Vivek Ramaswamy was in the fourth spot.

“I don’t think [former] President Trump is going to be the nominee. I think it’s going to be me. But I will tell you that any Republican is better than what Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are doing,” Haley told CBS News in an interview on Sunday.

According to RealClearPolitics, which monitors all the major national polls, Trump tops the list of average of all such polls with 53.6 per cent, followed by DeSantis (13 per cent), Ramaswamy (7.1 per cent) and Haley (6 per cent). The WSJ opinion poll shows a different result, putting Haley ahead of Ramaswamy.

Talking about Trump and the charges against him, Haley said, “He is innocent until proven guilty. But you are implying that the American people are not smart. The American people are not going to vote for a convicted criminal. The American people are going to vote for someone who can win a general election. I have faith in the American people.”

“I’m completely for mental competency tests for anyone over the age of 75”

In Sunday’s interview, Haley said, “I am completely for term limits [for US lawmakers]. I’m completely for mental competency tests for anyone over the age of 75. And I’m not saying that to be disrespectful.”

This reference to age appeared to be a dig at President Joe Biden, who is about 80 now. However, Haley refrained from naming him. Instead, she said, “Here, you have Mitch McConnell, who has done great service to the country. You have Dianne Feinstein, who had a great career. You’ve got Nancy Pelosi, who has been there a long time. At what point do they get it’s time to leave? They need to let a younger generation take over.”

She added, “We want to go and start working for our kids to make sure we have a strong national security, to make sure we have a stronger economic policy, to make sure that America is safe. We can’t do that if these individuals refuse to give up power. This is not just a Republican or Democrat problem. This is a congressional problem. And they’ve got to know when to leave. It is time to pass this down to a new generation of conservative leaders that want to take our country to a better place.”