Presidential candidate Nikki Haley criticized Trump’s foreign policy during a campaign stop in Portsmouth, N.H., on Thursday, saying he is “weak in the knees” on Ukraine policy.
When asked how Trump will be remembered, she gave the former president several compliments, tip-toeing around being too overtly negative about the GOP primary’s frontrunner.
“He was the right president at the right time,” Haley said. “He broke things that needed to be broken. He listened and brought in a group of people who felt unheard.”
But she also had her fair share of critiques.
“He was thin-skinned and easily distracted. He didn’t do anything on fiscal policy and really spent a lot of money and we’re paying the price for it,” she said. “He used to be good on foreign policy and now he has started to walk it back and get weak in the knees when it comes to Ukraine.”
Haley has been one of the strongest supporters of Ukraine military aid in the GOP primary while Trump has wavered, failing to take a strong side.
Trump has repeatedly said he would bring peace to the war between Ukraine and Russia if he is elected, but has not elaborated on how that would be achieved. He’s also urged slowdowns for aid to Ukraine, but has not gone as far as some other GOP rivals who have sought to halt it permanently.
Republican support for Ukraine has wavered since the Russian invasion began over a year and a half ago. Funding for Ukraine has even taken center stage in federal budget conflicts within the House GOP this week.
Haley’s comments represent a common thread in the 2024 GOP primary – candidates complimenting Trump and his presidential accomplishments — popular with the GOP voter base — while at the same time being forced to make an argument as to why they are a better option.
Trump is leading the GOP primary field by a massive margin in polling. He has about 55 percent support among Republicans, according to national polling averages. His closest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has about 14 percent support while Haley holds on to fourth with about 5 percent.
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