Nuts-and-Bolts Conservatism From Nikki Haley

From a New York Times story by Jazmine Ulloa headlined “Nuts-and-Bolts Conservatism From Nikki Haley”:

Nikki Haley is not as loud or fiery as some of her pulpit-pounding rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. But her pleas for common sense and experience in the White House often leave crowds wanting more.

Ms. Haley, 51, the former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador, has been on the campaign trail in Iowa and New Hampshire as she seeks to challenge Donald J. Trump, the front-runner.

Her stump speeches often stick to core Republican themes. Here are five of her most reliable applause lines in recent appearances.

“When I’m president, we will no longer give foreign aid to countries that hate America. That’s a promise.”

Ms. Haley, the only Republican woman running in the presidential race, has sought to lean into hawkish stances on China and her foreign policy credentials in an attempt to break out of a crowded field. A favorite anecdote on the stump tells of her tenure under Mr. Trump when she compiled a book revealing that the United States was giving money to countries that often did not support its interests. The story’s function is twofold, positioning her as a tough-talking envoy willing to break from the Washington establishment and someone not afraid to tell Mr. Trump harsh truths.

“Instead of 87,000 I.R.S. agents, we’ll put 25,000 Border Patrol and ICE agents on the ground, and we will let them do their job.”

The promise — and its reception — underscore the fixation of the Republican base with the nation’s Southwestern border. She also echoes misleading claims from Republican lawmakers that Democrats are seeking to hire an army of tax auditors under the Internal Revenue Service to scrutinize the financial filings of middle-class families. Like many of the other Republican candidates, Ms. Haley sides with Mr. Trump on border and immigration policy, pledging to build a wall, defund sanctuary cities and bring back a Trump-era program requiring asylum seekers to wait out their cases in Mexico. “Because guess what? Nobody wants to remain in Mexico,” she adds, sometimes garnering laughs.

“We will make sure that every member of Congress has to get their health care through the V.A. You watch how fast it gets fixed.”

Perhaps no other line in Ms. Haley’s stump speech draws a more passionate response from audiences than this one. She has pledged to tackle veteran homelessness and high suicide rates and to improve veterans’ access to health care. The issues are personal for Ms. Haley, whose husband, Michael, is a major in the South Carolina Army National Guard and served in Afghanistan in 2013. This summer, Ms. Haley joined other military spouses in seeing their partners off, as they deployed to Africa with the Army National Guard. The military tour is expected to last a year and for most of the G.O.P. primary race.

“Don’t you think it’s time we have term limits in Congress? We have to do it. We have to have term limits in Congress, and I think we need to have mental health competency tests for anyone over the age of 75.”

Ms. Haley, who has couched her campaign message in a call for “a new generation of leaders,” long sought to distinguish herself from competitors by taking an early stance on the issue of age limits among political leaders. Her shots are most directly aimed at President Biden, 80, whose age is cited as a top concern, as he seeks re-election. In an interview with Fox News, she suggested that Mr. Biden, would not live until the end of his second term if re-elected. On the stump, she often suggests that a vote for Mr. Biden is a vote for Vice President Kamala Harris.

“No more gender pronoun classes in the military. It is demoralizing to make them do that.”

Ms. Haley has faced blowback from Democrats, women’s rights groups and transgender rights activists for proposing that transgender girls playing in school sports is the “women’s issue of our time,” and for appearing to suggest that allowing “biological boys” in girls’ locker rooms was connected with the high rate of teenage girls who have considered suicide. She has since modified her statements so as not to link the two separate issues, but she has not dropped her focus on gender issues and implications that women are being erased. “Johns Hopkins recently came out and defined what a woman was,” she said in Hollis, referring to the research university. “Did you see it? A ‘nonman.’”

Jazmine Ulloa covers national politics from Washington. Before joining The Times, she worked at The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times and various papers in her home state of Texas.

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