Nikki Haley is heading to the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa in June to headline the state Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Dinner, a major gathering and fundraising event for the Iowa GOP.
The trip by Haley – a former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under then-President Donald Trump, who is considered a potential 2024 GOP presidential hopeful – will spark more speculation about her likely national ambitions in the next White House race.
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Funds raised at the June dinner will help Iowa Republicans running in the 2022 midterm elections, when the state could have high-profile and competitive races for the Senate, House and governor.
“I am thrilled that Ambassador Haley accepted our invitation,” Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said in a statement to Fox News. “Getting Iowans fired up to take back the Senate and the House in 2022 is our number one priority right now and we are proud to have Ambassador Haley in this fight with us. What we see coming from the Democrat Party is all about consolidating power, and it’s going to take a grassroots movement to defeat them.”
The trip to Iowa, which for a half century has kicked off the presidential caucus and primary calendar, is Haley’s first since last October, when she was in the state to campaign with fellow Republicans running in the 2020 elections. Haley also campaigned last autumn with Republican candidates in New Hampshire, the state that votes second in the presidential nominating calendar and for a century’s held the first primary in the White House race.
Haley, who served as ambassador to the U.N. during the first two years of the Trump administration, broke with the then-president after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by right wing extremists and other Trump supporters who were attempting to disrupt congressional certification of now-President Biden’s election victory over Trump. The attack happened soon after Trump encouraged supporters at a large rally near the White House to march to the Capitol.
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“We need to acknowledge he let us down,” Haley told Politico in February as she pointed to the deadly attack on the Capitol.
“He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again,” she said.
In the interview, Haley acknowledged that Trump’s base still remains loyal to the former president but said that going forward, “I think what we need to do is take the good that he built, leave the bad that he did, and get back to a place where we can be a good, valuable, effective party. But at the same time, it’s bigger than the party. I hope our country can come together and figure out how we pull this back.”
But a couple of weeks later, Haley praised Trump in a tweet a couple of hours after the former president’s address at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which was his first public appearance and speech since leaving the White House on Jan. 20.
“Strong speech by President Trump about the winning policies of his administration and what the party needs to unite behind moving forward. The liberal media wants a GOP civil war. Not gonna happen,” Haley tweeted.
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Trump has remained very active in GOP politics, playing a kingmaker’s role as he also repeatedly flirts with another White House run in 2024.
In an interview with the Associated Press earlier this month, Haley said “yes” when asked if she would support Trump if he runs again.
“I would not run if President Trump ran and I would talk to him about it,” Haley said. “That’s something that we will have a conversation about at some point, if that decision is something that has to be made. But yeah, I would, absolutely.”
News of Haley’s trip to the Hawkeye State was first reported by the Iowa Field Report.
Haley will become the fourth potential 2024 GOP presidential contender to travel to Iowa so far this year.
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Last month, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to a local Republican club in suburban Des Moines. And earlier this month, Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Tim Scott of South Carolina headlined separate events for the Iowa GOP.
A few days after Haley’s trip, another potential GOP White House hopeful, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, will head to Iowa to headline a state Republican Party event.