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Nikki Haley pressed on whether Trump a danger to democracy

Former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, said her strategy in Wednesday night’s first Republican presidential primary debate was to be honest with the American people and came out swinging against her GOP rivals on issues including the nation’s fiscal state and Ukraine.

She reiterated her positions in an interview Thursday with “CBS Mornings.” She also continued to criticize the current GOP frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, who didn’t appear in Wednesday’s debate. 

But when co-host Tony Dokoupil asked her questions about Trump, she didn’t answer directly. Haley wouldn’t say whether she thinks Trump is dangerous for democracy, or whether she wants him to stop making false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

She did, however, say she doesn’t think Trump “will take the country forward,” and that “we need a new generational leader.”

“He’s gonna say what he’s gonna say,” Haley said. “That’s who Donald Trump is. It always is. I’m not going to talk about whether an election was stolen. I’m going to talk about what real American families want to talk about, and that’s the fact that they’re hurting right now. And we need to give them some relief.”

Haley was among the candidates who raised their hands Wednesday to confirm they would support Trump as the 2024 Republican nominee even if he’s convicted as he faces four criminal cases. She also said that if she is elected president, she would pardon him so the country can “move on.”

Haley said she wants Trump to “acknowledge things that really happened,” like him letting Republicans and Democrats “spend like drunken sailors.” 

The former governor’s stance on the nation’s fiscal state came into focus Wednesday when she singled out rivals Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and former Vice President Mike Pence for voting on legislation that raised the national debt. She took aim directly at Trump for adding $8 trillion to the debt during his only term.

She also pushed hard on foreign policy issues, including China and Ukraine. 

Haley said on “CBS Mornings” that while she doesn’t think she would give Ukraine economic funding, “we should make sure they have the equipment, ammunition that they need to win and do the military side of it.”

“A win for Russia is a win for China,” she added. “Ukraine is the front line of defense. We need to take Putin at his word. He said that if he defeats, if he takes Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics are next, and that would create a world war. We are trying to prevent war.”

She also said the U.S. needs Israel to be the front line of defense when it comes to Iran, and needs to protect Taiwan so that China doesn’t continue its aggressive behavior against the United States.

“A smart foreign policy is national security,” she told “CBS Mornings.” “And what Vivek Ramaswamy showed last night is he doesn’t know anything about foreign policy or anything about national security.”

Haley and Ramaswamy had a heated exchange during Wednesday’s debate in which she lambasted the 38-year-old entrepreneur and political newcomer for his opposition to more assistance to Ukraine, saying he is “choosing a murderer over a pro-American country” and that “he will make America less safe.”

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nikki-haley-pressed-trump-danger-democracy-foreign-policy/ Nikki Haley pressed on whether Trump a danger to democracy

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