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Nikki Haley visits Utah County in hope-focused political rally

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Brynn Carnesecca | Touriddu

With caucus meetings scheduled for the upcoming weeks, presidential candidate Nikki Haley rallied at UVU’s Noorda Center on Wednesday, February 28. Although tickets had to be purchased in advance, eager listeners filled both theaters with a combined seating capacity of 1,400.

The rally began with a video introduction from the 17th governor of Utah, Gary R. Herbert. Herbert praised Haley’s former position as South Carolina’s governor, highlighting her dedication to cutting taxes, easing government restrictions, supporting small businesses and the record-low unemployment rates (and associated record-high employment rates) while Haley was in office. “Most importantly, she has done it with grace and dignity,” Governor Herbert added. “She has always shown respect for her office, the people she represents and significantly also for her opponents.” Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson spoke and echoed similar sentiments regarding Haley.

Haley started her remarks by bluntly mentioning how difficult it is to see the state of the Country, particularly regarding the United States’ debt of over $34 trillion. Haley has a background in accounting and focused much of her address on the Country’s financial state. She mentioned her concern about the Country’s debt to China and her opinion that foreign countries were not giving their fair share for global security. “I would love to tell you that Joe Biden did that to us,” Haley commented. “and he sent us down this roller coaster of socialism that is dangerous. But I’ve always spoken hard truths, and I’m going to do that with you today. Donald Trump and our Republicans did that to us, too.”

Haley also mentioned COVID-19 stimulus payments and entitlement programs. The crowd cheered with Haley’s final comment, “We can’t keep going on like that. So, don’t you think it’s time we had an accountant in the White House?” 

The former governor touched on other points of interest, such as introducing term limits in Congress, enforcing competency tests for members of government and ensuring members of Congress do not receive paychecks until the Country’s budget is completed on time. “Congress has become the most privileged nursing home in America,” said Haley. “This is nothing to play with. These are people making decisions on the future of our economy.”

Haley expressed her frustration with border security. If elected, she promised to enforce stricter policies to prevent fentanyl smuggling and the entry of foreign nationals at the southern border. During her term in South Carolina, Haley said she enforced the strictest immigration policy of any state. “President Obama sued us over it, and we won,” explained Haley. “I want to take what we did in South Carolina and go National with it.” 

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Haley also discussed veteran healthcare. Her husband is a veteran who served in Afghanistan and is currently deployed in Africa. Haley was firm in her support of veterans, stating the need for immediate mental and physical health resources. By utilizing Telehealth and allowing veterans to visit whichever hospital they choose, Haley plans to support veterans during often difficult transitions to civilian life. 

Haley commented on former president Donald Trump’s recent off-script comments in South Carolina. “Trump said that he would encourage Putin to invade our allies…” Haley said. “In that moment that Donald Trump went off the teleprompter, he chose to side with a thug when half a million have died or been wounded because Putin invaded Ukraine. Trump chose to side with a dictator who killed his political opponents. In that one moment, he made our allies more vulnerable, he emboldened Putin, and he put our military members who are serving in those areas in danger. We need a president who knows we can never be so arrogant to think we don’t need friends.”

Gaining control after more cheers of support, Haley encouraged attendees to attend the caucus meetings, bring friends, and try to turn the tables in her favor. “The decision is do you want more of the same, or do you want to go in a new direction?” Haley asked.

Haley spoke of Trump’s arrogance and his narcissistic tendencies which in her view, “represent a shift in the Republican party.” She also mentioned President Joe Biden’s age and perceived low level of competency.

Haley finished her message with comments about her motives. “I’m not doing this for me,” she stated. “I’m doing this for my kids. I’m doing this for your kids and your grandkids. I want to get us back to a country where it’s about faith and family and freedom.” 

Directly following her speech, Haley held an hour-long meet and greet for all interested attendees. She continued encouraging listeners to fight for a change in the Country and attend caucus meetings.

Caucus meetings for both the Republican and Democratic parties will be held next week. Visit utah.gov to register or to find your precinct location.

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