(NewsNation) — Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has an extensive political career, having previously served as the former ambassador to the United Nations from the U.S. under former President Donald Trump and as the governor of South Carolina before that. She was the first major GOP challenger to Trump when she launched her campaign in February 2023.
Haley has begun closing the gap with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, emerging as the runner-up to Trump in a recent poll in the swing state of New Hampshire, putting her ahead of DeSantis in the crucial state.
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Here’s a look at Haley’s policy positions and political views as she competes for your vote:
Has said in multiple debates while she is personally “pro-life,” she stands apart from her Republican contenders for calling for a “national consensus” when it comes to a federal abortion ban.
During the first GOP debate, she refused to call for a 15-week federal abortion ban. However, she also said in a November interview that if she were still governor of South Carolina, she would sign a 6-week ban if that was what “the people decide.”
As a lawmaker and then governor, Haley supported some of the most restrictive abortion measures that the South Carolina Legislature could pass.
While serving as a state legislator, co-sponsored a bill mandating a 24-hour waiting period between medical consultation and the procedure; also voted to end abortion coverage for rape and incest victims in the state health plan for employees.
Crime, guns and red flag laws
As governor of South Carolina, Haley signed several bills related to crime and policing where she reduced incarceration rates and recidivism. “The state’s prison population declined by about 15% during her tenure, and its recidivism rate was among the country’s lowest,” the New York Times reported.
Spoke about “bringing back law and order” and said government leaders should hold prosecutors responsible and take “care of law enforcement.”
Spoke out against red flag laws, saying she did not trust the government to not take the guns of those “who rightfully deserve to have them.”
Following the Covenant School shooting in Nashville, Haley called for more metal detectors in schools as opposed to more gun control legislation.
In response to a question on school shootings during a CNN town hall, Haley said mental health treatment is a key component to preventing attacks before they happen, calling for “mental health counselors” at every school.
Stance on Israel and Palestine, the war in Ukraine
Believes helping Ukraine defend itself from Russian aggression is in the U.S. national interest, saying the war was “bigger than Ukraine,” and it was “about freedom.”
One of the strongest supporters of military aid for Ukraine among her competitors in the GOP primary. However, she said during the third Republican debate that she only supported sending equipment and ammunition, not giving the country “cash.”
Criticized President Joe Biden for not being quick enough to assist Ukraine. “We could give Ukraine the weapons to beat Russia tomorrow,” she said.
Stresses the U.S. should give Israel “whatever” support it needs to “not just get your country back, (but also) to eliminate the terrorists.”
As ambassador, made the defense of Israel one of her defining causes including blocking the appointment of a Palestinian envoy, forcing the withdrawal of a UN report that described the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians as “apartheid” and walking out of a Security Council meeting during a Palestinian official’s speech.
Foreign policy with China, Taiwan
Says China is “the greatest threat to American security and prosperity” and that the country has “taken our manufacturing jobs,” “trade secrets” and control of “critical industries, from medicines to advanced technology.”
Said the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “endgame is clear. China is preparing its people for war,” and the actions of the Biden administration is making conflict “more likely.”
Accused both Presidents Biden and Trump of mishandling Beijing.
Plans to confront Beijing and calls for preventing Chinese investors from buying land in the U.S. and eliminating federal funding for universities that accept Chinese money.
Has said the U.S. needs to let China know “there will be hell to pay if they touch Taiwan,” and that the U.S. should “do anything we need to, to defend our friend (Taiwan) the way we’re defending Ukraine.”
Stance on economy and inflation
Economic plan includes getting rid of the federal gas and diesel tax, cutting “income taxes for working families” and vetoing “any spending bill that doesn’t take us back to pre-COVID spending levels.”
Supports increasing oil and gas drilling and limiting federal workers to no more than five years in the same position.
Believes gaining energy independence will save families money on their utility bills and allow the U.S. to not be as reliant on foreign countries.
Blames big government spending for inflation. “Americans are tired of working for Washington,” she said. “It’s time for Washington to start working for us.”
Border crisis and immigration
When it comes to the border, Haley is largely aligned with her Republican rivals, offering tough promises on immigration.
Called on the United States to “close” the border and defund “sanctuary cities.”
Suggested a “catch and deport” strategy for the Mexico border crisis, saying, “When you start deporting illegal immigrants, they will stop coming.”
Proposed taking federal dollars allotted for the IRS and giving them to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to hire 25,000 new agents for the border.
Pledged to ease legal pathways for citizenship for new workers as an effort to alleviate labor shortages.
Proposed re-implementing two Trump-era border policies — the Migrant Protection Protocols, nicknamed “Remain in Mexico,” which forced undocumented immigrants to await their court dates south of the border, and Title 42, the Trump-era expulsion order used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
According to her campaign, Haley launched a coalition aimed at lifting Iowa’s rural communities and focusing on issues facing farmers and families.
Supports increased transparency in the classroom, vowing to give parents more of a say in classrooms. “Every parent, regardless of their education, regardless of where they’re from, knows what’s best for their child,” she said at a town hall.
Promised to “neuter” the U.S. Education Department by reducing its size and “empower the parents on the ground.”
Criticizes the practice of allowing transgender girls to compete in female school sports, calling it the “women’s issue of our time” and making unsupported claims linking the increase in suicidal thoughts among girls with the issue of trans athletes.
Child care crisis
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates as many as 100,000 Americans have been forced to stay home from work each month because of unaffordable child care. The economic toll now amounts to an estimated $122 billion each year in lost earnings. Compounding the problem, tens of thousands of child care programs closed after $24 billion in pandemic-era funding expired earlier this year.
Unlike education, Haley has spoken little of the current child care crisis in America.
Social Security and Medicare
Says Social Security and Medicare spending is unsustainable and proposed entitlement program changes for young people to prevent bankruptcy.
Believes older Americans should not see cuts to their benefits and promised to keep programs intact for people who are in their 40s or older.
Wants to raise the retirement age for young adults “coming into the system” in their 20s “so that it matches life expectancy.”
Advocates for expanding Medicare Advantage plans, in which private companies offer plans that are reimbursed by the government for care, to drum up competition.
Proposes limiting benefits to the wealthy as part of entitlement reform
Fentanyl crisis, opioid epidemic
Supports the deployment of U.S. military personnel to Mexico to combat the drug cartels and the flow of fentanyl into the U.S.
Would push to cut off trade relations with Beijing until the flow of fentanyl in the U.S. is halted
Acknowledges climate change is real and caused by humans and early in her campaign said there’s a need to address the problem, though previously had balked over drastic efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Would plan to lift Biden administration restrictions on oil and gas production, eliminate subsidies for renewable energy and cancel proposed regulations on power plants and vehicle emissions
As ambassador to the United Nations, Haley was involved in withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change.
Has supported the use of carbon capture technology to remove carbon from the air
The Hill, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.