MILWAUKEE—Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley says she understands what “real national security is” – something she says makes her the most prepared to take on the Oval Office and strengthen America’s standing on the world stage.
Haley, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration, told Fox News Digital that she knows the “dangers” of the “new axis of evil.”
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“At the United Nations, I didn’t deal with one country – I dealt with 193,” she said. “I’ve sat across the table and negotiated with China and Russia. I know the dangers of Iran and North Korea.”
Former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley spoke with Fox News Digital at the site of the first Republican presidential debate. (Joseph A. Wulfsohn/Fox News Digital)
Haley told Fox News Digital that, if elected president, she will bring a foreign policy with “moral clarity on who our friends are and who our enemies are.”
“We need to know the difference between good and evil,” she said. “And that doesn’t mean you allow Ukraine to get eaten up by Russia. It doesn’t mean you give Taiwan to China. It doesn’t mean that you stop funding Israel.”
She added: “It means that you have an American president that understands you can’t be narcissistic and think you’re going to survive on your own.”
Haley stressed the importance of relationships with U.S. allies.
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“In order to have allies, we’ve got to make sure we’re taking on those enemies so that we can keep Americans safe,” Haley said, while stressing she has already fostered those relationships.
“The greatest threat facing the United States, number one, is China,” she said. “But let’s understand there is a new axis of evil. It is Russia, it is Iran, and it is North Korea.”
Nikki Haley speaks during the Republican presidential primary debate on Wednesday. (Fox News)
“They want to destroy America. They want to destroy our friends,” she said. “We need to be smart, we need to be strategic, and we need to understand what real national security is.”
With regard to China’s ambitions to take Taiwan, Haley told Fox News Digital that her “biggest fear” is “the time we have to wait until the next president takes office.”
“But until that time, America has never looked as weak as we do right now,” she said. “Joe Biden has been trying to appease Putin, he has been trying to appease Xi Jinping – we are watching that and that is why China thinks they can invade Taiwan.”
Haley said that point is “why it is so important that Ukraine win this because if Ukraine wins, it will send the biggest message to China on invading Taiwan.”
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Current and former officials familiar with U.S. and allied intelligence tell Fox News that China could invade Taiwan before the next U.S. presidential election, while others say Beijing could attempt to take Taiwan by 2027.
“If Ukraine loses, Russia is going to do exactly what they said they’re going to do – they are going to go into Poland and the Baltics – which is a world war – and that will give a green light to China with Taiwan.”
She added: “We can never let that happen.”
Haley said during her time as ambassador to the United Nations, the Trump administration let adversaries know there would “be hell to pay.” Haley said former President Trump was “strong in D.C.” and said she was “strong at the United Nations.”
“We let them know there would be hell to pay – these enemies of ours need to understand if they do anything that jeopardizes America or our friends, there will be hell to pay and there will be a price to pay,” she said.
Nikki Haley speaks to hometown supporters during a campaign rally at The Grove in Lexington County, South Carolina, on April 6, 2023. (Tracy Glantz/The State/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
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“When they think we’re weak, they’re going to have a free for all,” she warned. “And that’s what they’re doing under President Biden.”
But beyond her experience on the world stage, Haley highlighted her tenure as governor of South Carolina.
“I’ve been a two-term governor that took a double-digit unemployment state and turned it into an economic powerhouse,” she told Fox News Digital. “When you talk about the economy and inflation, you look at the fact that Biden didn’t just do this to us, Republicans did this to us, too.”
“I mean, you saw on the stage, you’ve got Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, Tim Scott, they all voted to raise the debt ceiling. You’ve got Donald Trump, who basically spent like a drunken sailor, with $8 trillion that went toward our debt,” she continued. “I think it’s time for an accountant in the White House. We have to make sure that we stop the spending, we stop the borrowing, we eliminate the earmarks.”
She added: “I’ll veto any spending bill that doesn’t take us back to pre-COVID levels.”
Fox News’ Joseph Wulfsohn contributed to this report.