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Nikki Haley makes campaign stop in Nevada, receives endorsement from mayor

Cleo Westin
Former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley takes a photo with Nevada Mayor and Story County GOP Chair Brett Barker, who endorsed her during a campaign stop at the Story County fairgrounds community center on Dec. 18, 2023.

Former South Carolina Gov. and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley spoke at the Story County Fairgrounds in Nevada, Iowa, during a campaign stop and received an endorsement from Nevada Mayor Brett Barker.

The Republican mayor told the Daily during a presidential campaign visit by former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson in July that he is a “big believer” in the neutrality of leadership and would not make an endorsement. 

In an interview with the Daily on Monday, Barker said that right now is “just too important of a moment in our nation’s course.”

“Every single poll shows that she performs the best in the general election against Joe Biden,” Barker said. “I think what that does is get her coattails all across the country up and down the ballot from coast to coast that would really bring Republicans in with a mandate we haven’t seen since the Reagan administration.”

Haley discussed that mandate alongside her policy positions after citing a Wall Street Journal poll that showed her with a 51% to 34% lead over President Joe Biden.

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks to the people of Iowa during her campaign in Nevada, Iowa, on Dec. 18, 2023. (Tyler Coe)

“That’s a mandate to say ‘no more spending and getting our economy back on track’, that’s a mandate to get our kids reading again, that’s a mandate to secure the borders once and for all, that’s a mandate to make sure we have law and order back in this country and that’s a mandate for a strong America that makes every one of us proud,” Haley said to a full crowd in the Story County fairgrounds community center basement.

Term limits pledge 

Haley referred to the Senate as the “most privileged nursing home in the country” and said she would offer a “Haley term limits pledge” for Congressional candidates to sign so voters would know where they stand before election day. 

“Either they sign it or they don’t sign it, but I’m going to give you all that information so that you know before you vote, who was for term limits, and who was against term limits, and we will keep doing that until we can get them to vote,” Haley said. 

Foreign policy

On foreign policy, the former U.N. ambassador said each situation can be taken on individually and told the audience that Congress is lying by saying they have to choose between supporting Ukraine or Israel. 

“The world is on fire and that’s not exaggerating. You’ve got a war in Europe. You’ve got a war in the Middle East. You got North Korea, [which] just tested an intercontinental ballistic missile. You got China on the march. But make no mistake, none of that would have happened had we not had that debacle in Afghanistan,” Haley said.

Haley pledged to no longer give foreign aid to “countries that hate America” as president and also said kids in America need to “know how to love America” and say the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of every school day. 

“The only way we’re going to get this right is if we stop this national self-loathing that’s taken over our country; the idea that people say America’s bad or rotten or racist,” Haley said. “I was elected the first female minority governor in history. America is not racist, we’re blessed.”

TikTok has become a focal point of the 2024 Republican campaign with several major candidates calling for a nationwide ban a year after Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the app would be banned on all governmental devices. Haley said one of the reasons she wants to ban TikTok is because of the “pro-Hamas reels,” seemingly referring to TikTok and not Instagram reels, after the attacks on Oct. 7. 

Haley accredited Osama Bin Laden’s “Letter to America” going viral on TikTok to “foreign adversaries” and said all social media platforms should disclose their algorithms and “what they are doing with foreign bots.” 

“I will fight for freedom of speech of Americans,” Haley said. “I am not going to fight for freedom of speech for Hamas or Iran or Russia or China and that’s what’s happening right now.”

Personal connection on the campaign trail

Sammy York, a sophomore in management, is a first-time caucusgoer and said she is not committed to any candidate but appreciated Haley taking time to talk with those in attendance individually.

“I thought it was so cool,” York said. “This was my first time seeing someone speak, so I just thought it was awesome that I was there and I got to meet her too and that she takes the time to talk to you.”

Haley said small businesses are the “heartbeat of our economy” and advocated for making small business tax cuts permanent which York said “really touched” her because her family’s income is reliant upon small businesses.

“My dad does commercial real estate and a lot of his job is helping small businesses find a place to start their business or a building to like put in maybe a smaller franchise or something like that,” York said. “I thought it was really cool that she really like supports all that.”

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