Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley took digs at former President Trump’s friendliness to foreign dictators in a speech Saturday at the Republican Jewish Coalition annual summit.
Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, prefaced her statements by giving the former president credit for getting out of the Iran deal and said she “was honored to have played a part in those efforts.”
However, Haley criticized Trump’s foreign relations handling and said, “we can’t afford to go down that road,” amid the wars in Europe and the Middle East and high tensions with China.
“As president, I will not compliment Hezbollah nor will I criticize Israel’s Prime Minister in the middle of a tragedy and war,” she said referring to Trump’s controversial comments in recent weeks.
The former president is facing backlash for criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not being prepared ahead of Oct. 7 when Hamas entered the country in a surprise attack. Trump also called the Iran-back militant group Hezbollah “very smart.”
“We have no time for personal vendettas,” Haley said. “I will also not compliment Chinese communist President Xi nor will I call North Korea’s Kim Jong Un my friend.”
Haley said these leaders, along with the Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei, are “not good or smart people.”
“The last thing they want is an American president who knows it and calls them out for it,” Haley said. “They want us to stay divided, distracted and morally confused.”
Haley is currently trailing Trump in the polls by a large margin, battling it out for second place with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.).