Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley on Thursday hailed the “extraordinary gains” for the United States during President Trump’s time in office and warned Republicans not to “shy away” from them — while at the same time calling his post-Election Day conduct “deeply disappointing.”
“President Trump has not always chosen the right words. He was wrong with his words in Charlottesville, and I told him so at the time,” she told a Republican National Committee dinner in Florida. “He was badly wrong with his words yesterday. And it wasn’t just his words. His actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history.”
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“It’s deeply disappointing. And it’s a real shame, because I am one who believes our country made some truly extraordinary gains in the last four years. President Trump and Republicans deserve great credit for that,” she said, according to excerpts. “We should not shy away from our accomplishments.”
Haley has cited Trump’s judicial appointments and his economic and energy policies, as well as his administration’s pushback against Iran, China and ISIS, along with his role in securing peace deals between the Arab world and Israel.
Haley was speaking a day after pro-Trump supporters, after attending a White House rally featuring President Trump, stormed the Capitol building while lawmakers were certifying the Electoral College vote. Four people died and lawmakers were evacuated as rioters trashed the Capitol.
While Trump has denounced the violence, he has come under heavy criticism from both Republicans and Democrats for who say he incited the riots. Multiple administration officials have resigned, while top Democrats have called for Trump to be removed by either the 25th Amendment or impeachment.
Haley called the riots at Capitol Hill “un-American” and said they should be denounced “in the strongest terms.” She said Republicans — as well as Democrats, news media and Big Tech companies — need to “do better.”
“If we are the party of personal responsibility, we need to take personal responsibility,” she said. “We can and should talk about our major differences. But we must stop turning the American people against each other – and this Republican Party must lead the way.”
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Separately, she said that Republicans had suffered a “disaster” in Georgia this week, where they lost two Senate runoffs. It now means Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House.
She told Republicans that they now face a “tough reality” and have decisions to make about the party’s future.
“We can whine about it. We can complain about it. We can blame each other for it. Or we can do something about it,” she said.
On other issues, Haley said it was possible to acknowledge that President-elect Joe Biden won the election, while also calling for better election security. She also called the recent omnibus spending bill a “disgrace” filled with wasteful spending — such as a study on if hot tubs reduce stress and funding for gender programs in Pakistan.
“It’s insulting. America’s national debt is $28 trillion and counting. Congress needs to remember whose money they’re spending. It’s not their money,” she said. “It’s the American people’s money.”
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She repeated her assertion that 2020 was the year “socialism went mainstream,” and accused Democrats of not trusting the American people to run their lives, and urged Republicans to push back against those who call America a racist country.
“We need to speak out with more conviction than ever before. We must proudly declare that America is the freest, fairest, and most just country the world has ever known. Our fellow citizens still believe it, even if the left has forgotten,” she said.
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She went on to tell her audience that Jan. 6 should mark “the day America vowed to be better.”
“Let us not be defined by yesterday,” she said. “Let us be defined by the choices and decisions we make starting tonight.”