Ambassador Nikki Haley: Your Party and Country Need You - OZY | A Modern Media Company


America’s representative to the United Nations has proven diplomatic enough to turn the GOP around.

Susan Del Percio

Susan Del Percio

Susan Del Percio is a New York–based Republican strategist and senior advisor to the Lincoln Project.

Update: On October 9, Haley announced she will leave her post at the end of the year, though she said she is not running in 2020 and vowed to campaign for President Trump.

While all eyes of the international community were on President Donald Trump at the United Nations General Assembly this week, many political observers were keenly watching U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. With less than six weeks to go before the midterm elections on Nov. 6, the 2020 Republican primary talk will soon get underway. Many are wondering whether there’s a viable alternative to Trump if he decides to seek re-election. And if not, the GOP will need a nominee who can start to unite the Republican Party.

Currently, Trump’s favorability numbers are hovering around 40 percent, and given the likelihood that Democrats will win the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the president could very well be looking at impeachment hearings, investigations into his taxes and business practices, as well as subpoenas by the Oversight Committee. And, of course, there’s special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which is likely to lower the president’s numbers even more. So you can see why many are starting to say the president may not even run. 

Republicans need a candidate who can bring dignity and respect back to the White House.

Whether or not the president seeks re-election, many Republicans, including me, are looking for a candidate who can take on Trump or be ready to hit the ground running should Trump opt not to run in 2020. The damage this president has done to the Republican Party is tremendous. In addition to his tweets, he has sought to divide our country by offending minorities and women — think travel ban, Charlottesville, Roy Moore and child separations at the border, to name just a few. Our nation’s standing with our allies is on life support, and he continues to compliment enemies. Trump recently tweeted, “Despite requests, I have no plans to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Maybe someday in the future. I am sure he is an absolutely lovely man!”

Republicans need a candidate who can bring dignity and respect back to the White House, and who can competently lead our country both home and abroad. Republicans need Nikki Haley.

It would be easy for skeptics to say that Republicans want to see a woman at the top of the ticket, given the low approval ratings of the Republican Party among women. But that’s not why we should support a candidate Haley.


Haley was a very successful governor of South Carolina, has gained tremendous experience in foreign affairs and is fiscally conservative. And, most of all, she has tremendous skills in diplomacy, both foreign and domestic. 

Based in New York, Haley has stayed out of the quagmire of Washington’s swamp. She has managed her relationship with the president with more guile and shrewdness than any of her colleagues. And, she has remained true to her values by articulating her point of view without resulting in a public rebuke from the president.

In April of this year, Haley appeared on Face the Nation, and she said that there would soon be new sanctions directed at companies linked to Syria’s chemical weapons program. Soon after, Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, attempted to walk back that announcement, suggesting Ambassador Haley suffered from “momentary confusion.” The ambassador’s response was pitch-perfect: “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”

With one sentence, she showed the country, and the world, that she was tough, restrained and not afraid to speak up for herself. And that was hardly the only example.

After the violence in Charlottesville, the ambassador referred to the “horrible acts” and wrote in an email, obtained by CNN, that “we must denounce them at every turn, and make them feel like they are on an island and isolate them the same way they wish to isolate others.” When asked if she discussed it with the president, she simply replied that she had a “personal conversation” with him and would “leave it at that.”

There is also space for those who support Trump’s policies but do not care for the president’s temperament. Haley has often said that she has a good relationship with the president, and she demonstrated her loyalty on Sept. 7 in a Washington Post op-ed in which she strongly disagreed with the claims in the anonymous “resistance” op-ed published by the New York Times.

If the Republican Party has a chance of getting its soul and reputation back, it will be with the nomination of Nikki Haley. And it wouldn’t be disloyal, as some will claim; it would show that she is putting country first. And when Trump attacks her, as he did during the 2016 Republican primary, I suggest she reply the way she did back then: “Bless your heart.”

Susan Del Percio

Susan Del Percio

Susan Del Percio is a New York–based Republican strategist and senior advisor to the Lincoln Project.

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