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Haley says she will vote for Trump

HAIYUN JIANG/THE NEW YORK TIMES
                                Former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina speaks at the Hudson Institute in Washington, a conservative think tank, today. In her first public appearance since she dropped her Republican presidential bid in March, Haley, also the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said she would vote for former President Donald Trump, stopping short of an official endorsement.
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HAIYUN JIANG/THE NEW YORK TIMES

Former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina speaks at the Hudson Institute in Washington, a conservative think tank, today. In her first public appearance since she dropped her Republican presidential bid in March, Haley, also the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said she would vote for former President Donald Trump, stopping short of an official endorsement.

WASHINGTON >> In her first public appearance since she dropped her Republican presidential bid in March, Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador, said today that she would vote for former President Donald Trump, stopping short of an official endorsement.

Speaking at the Hudson Institute in Washington, a conservative think tank, Haley delivered a scathing critique of President Joe Biden and Republicans on foreign policy. During her speech, she made no mention of the elephant in the room: Trump.

But in a fireside chat afterward, the moderator, Peter Rough, asked Haley who she believed would do a better job in the White House. Haley paused before carefully continuing her answer. As a voter, she said, she would put her priorities behind a president who would have the “backs of our allies and hold our enemies to account,” secure the nation’s borders and curb the national debt.

“Trump has not been perfect on these policies. I’ve made that clear many, many times,” she said. “But Biden has been a catastrophe. So, I will be voting for Trump.”

As Trump’s longest-standing rival in the 2024 primary contest, Haley carved out an important lane for herself as the voice for Republican and independent voters looking for an alternative to the former president. While she was included in recent chatter about Trump’s possible running mates, he recently all but ruled out the possibility of selecting Haley, who also is a former South Carolina governor.

Her decision on whether to endorse him could play a pivotal role in shaping the presidential contest. Haley, who was named the new Walter P. Stern chair at the Hudson Institute, has built a formidable network of high-dollar donors and has a solid base of younger people, college-educated voters and independents that she has warned Trump he needs to win. But she and the former president grew increasingly bitter at the end of the primary.

In her chat after the speech, she also said Trump “would be smart to reach out to the millions of people who voted for me and continue to support me and not assume that they’re just going to be with him.”

The Biden campaign has been working behind the scenes to reach out to high-profile Republicans and target voters. It is also planning to roll out a grassroots group with dedicated staff workers to organize Republican voters in key battlegrounds, according to people with knowledge of the plans.

Haley echoed many of the signature themes from her campaign during her speech. She criticized Biden for his withdrawal from Afghanistan and what she described as his failure to take on China and Iran. She called his recent decision to withhold a shipment of bombs to Israel as “foolish.”

“Withholding them validates the totally false and destructive narrative that Israel is acting unjustly by defending herself,” she said.

But she did not do the same to Trump, whom she had described as a dangerous agent of chaos throughout her campaign. Instead, she reserved her choice words for members of her own party, disparaging them for promoting an isolationist approach to Ukraine’s war with Russia.

“Just a few weeks before Biden threw Israel to the wolves, many Republicans in Congress tried to push Ukraine off a cliff,” she said, praising Speaker Mike Johnson for demonstrating “moral courage and a clear understanding of the stakes.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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