Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said she would defer to former President Donald Trump if he decides to run again in 2024, the Associated Press reports.
Haley told the AP that she would back a second bid by Trump and would sit out the race herself. Haley has long made moves believed to be a prelude for a likely 2024 bid.
“I would not run if President Trump ran, and I would talk to him about it,” she told the outlet. “That’s something that we’ll have a conversation about at some point, if that decision is something that has to be made.”
Despite criticizing Trump in the wake of the Capitol riot, Haley defended her former boss in the interview after a weekend in which he ripped Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence to top GOP donors.
“I think former President Trump’s always been opinionated,” she said. “Just because he left being president, that’s not going to stop. But I think what he also talked about were all the successes that he had in the administration. And I think that’s what Republicans are uniting on. ... Every day Biden and Kamala Harris are in office unites the Republicans.”
Haley has been prepping White House run:
Haley moved back to South Carolina, where she served as governor, and soon published a memoir, launched her own political action committee, and began making speeches for up to $200,000 a pop.
On Monday, Haley toured South Carolina State University, an HBCU, and met with university President James Clark.
The event came just two weeks before Pence, another potential 2024 contender, is set to visit the state for his first public speech since leaving office.
Republicans wait on Trump:
Numerous other Republicans like Sens. Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, and Ted Cruz are expected to run for president in 2024 but they are worried about getting ahead of Trump.
"No one knows what the Trump effect will be in 2022 or 2024. He has promised to primary (Republicans who don't support him), so a great number of them don't want to risk that," Texas GOP donor Fred Zeidman told CNN. "He has not made a statement about not running in 2024, so it limits what anyone can do now, for fear of alienating the Trump supporters."