VIRGINIA BEACH – Perhaps more than any other 2024 presidential candidate so far, Nikki Haley is actively engaging with the evangelical community. It’s been that way from the beginning.
Her campaign kickoff event began with a prayer from megachurch Pastor John Hagee, and a couple of weeks ago she gave a high-profile pro-life speech at Susan B. Anthony List headquarters.
CBN News spoke with her following her commencement address at Regent University this past weekend and she made clear why she’s putting faith at the forefront.
"We need one national purpose, we need to go back to faith, family, country – that's what's always served us well,” Haley told CBN News. “We've got to bring that back together."
Haley says The Left’s obsession with trying to break down traditional gender roles in all aspects of society is having the opposite effect. "We are doing such a disservice to this generation,” she says. “We have got to stop this. We've got to snap out of it."
In our interview, Haley also took Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to task over his dispute with Disney. While expected to announce his own presidential run, DeSantis has positioned himself as an anti-woke champion by standing up to Disney.
Haley says, hang on a minute. "DeSantis took $50,000 worth of contributions from Disney prior to this,” Haley claimed. “He took their executives and lobbyists and put them on prominent state boards. He passed the largest corporate subsidies in Florida history for Disney in Florida right before this, so suddenly they criticize you and you're going to have thin skin and do a lawsuit that costs taxpayer dollars."
Haley also hasn’t hesitated to criticize front-runner Donald Trump in the past, although it’s unclear whether she will get to take her fight to him directly. With the first GOP debate getting close, Trump may not be on that stage at all.
"It's his decision to make,” Haley said. “At the end of the day, he probably sees that it would do him more harm to get on the debate stage than not...with the numbers he has now, why would he go get on a debate stage and risk that, but he'll have to make that decision when he wants to – and at the end of the day, I think the American people will want to see him on that stage."
As for the polls, every single one shows Trump with a large lead. Haley is banking on that changing. "Go look at any presidential election prior to this at this point in time and tell me if the polls didn't change dramatically a year from now,” she said.
Another dramatic change coming up deals with America's illegal immigration problem. This week, it’s expected to get much worse when the policy of expelling migrants due to COVID concerns ends.
"Whereas we've had 4.8 million (illegal immigrant entries) since Biden came in, you're going to have almost half a million a month come in, “Haley explained. “That's a dereliction of duty."
The Biden administration is sending more than 1,000 troops to the border but they’ll only be responsible for assisting with paperwork.
“He's doing nothing but sending processors,” Haley said. “Well, we've got processors there now. That's not what we need. We need law and order. We've had enough processors up until now."
Haley hopes voters will see her tough-as-nails approach and in turn, she’ll move up in the polls. She insisted, "I've been underestimated in everything I've ever done, and it's a blessing because it makes me scrappy."