PHILADELPHIA—Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, a Republican candidate for president, criticized Republicans and Democrats alike Friday as she called for a new style of leadership in a speech to the Moms for Liberty’s Joyful Warriors National Summit here.
Haley began by telling the parental rights group the story of her life, how her parents had emigrated from India and how her mother encouraged her by saying, “Your job is not to show [other kids] how you’re different; your job is to show them how you’re similar.”
“It’s amazing how our country could use my mom’s advice right now,” Haley, also a former South Carolina governor, said.
After being elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, she said, she targeted the cronyism she encountered there. At the time, lawmakers voted on legislation and other measures by “voice vote”—meaning little accountability to voters for representatives’ decisions in office.
“If you didn’t know how your House representative voted 97% of the time, and you didn’t know how your senator voted 99% of the time, how did you know who to vote for when you went to the polls?” Haley asked.
When she presented a bill that would require a written record of how state representatives voted, Haley recalled, she was stripped of all committee assignments.
In response, Haley said, she ran for governor and won. She recounted triumphing over bad leadership in both parties by focusing on the strong economic policy that comes from “an accountant, not a lawyer.”
Haley outlined her service as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and hailed then-President Donald Trump’s decisions to strengthen sanctions against North Korea and move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
As president, Haley said, she would be the solution to the problems she outlined.
NAEP test scores and other education statistics show the United States was failing in its public education system long before the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.
Haley blasted both Republicans and Democrats for government spending that has ballooned the national debt, in particular a lack of accountability in COVID-19 “relief” packages.
The former governor criticized Democrats’ push to ban voter ID requirements as racially demeaning and condescending.
“They continue to say that minorities ‘can’t,’ and I want to tell you, ‘Yes, we can, we always have.’ All minorities want is freedom—freedom to do and be anything we want to be.”
The crowd cheered as Haley ripped the Biden administration’s immigration policy, describing the horrors at the southern U.S. border, where she said she toured over 400 miles of violence, refuse, and disaster.
“Mounds of clothes, mounds of shoes,” she recalled, “rape areas that the women and girls have to walk through to get by.”
Haley blamed much of today’s fentanyl trafficking through the southern border on China, which “knows exactly what they are doing.”
On foreign policy, Haley criticized nations that take foreign aid annually from the U.S. while voting against the U.S. at the United Nations. As she listed nation after nation for which the U.S. is hemorrhaging funds, the crowd grew expectant.
Voices throughout the audience began to mutter “Ukraine.”
After listing Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Zimbabwe, Belarus, and Cuba, Haley reached a crescendo, asking the crowd: “And the one that makes me sick to my stomach?”
Attendees said “Ukraine” in unison, but Haley didn’t say “Ukraine.” She named China.
Haley previously has defended America’s expansive financial support for Ukraine in the Russia-Ukraine war as preventing “another world war.”
After what appeared to be confused applause from the crowd, Haley regained her momentum. She finished by praising Moms for Liberty for standing strong in the face of leftist organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center that have labeled the parental rights activists as “anti-government extremists.”
Haley finished by proclaiming that if concerned parents are the standard for what the U.S. government calls domestic terrorists, “then that makes me a Mom for Liberty too.”
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