Haley Takes Aim at Trump and 'Squishy' Republicans

'Lots of Republican politicians love spending and wasting taxpayer money almost as much as Democrats,' Haley says at Club for Growth donor retreat

Conservatives Attend The Annual CPAC Event
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March 4, 2023

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley took aim at former president Donald Trump and "squishy" Republican lawmakers in a speech at the Club for Growth donor retreat on Saturday.

"Here’s the truth. Lots of Republican politicians love spending and wasting taxpayer money almost as much as Democrats," said Haley. "The last two Republican presidents added more than $10 trillion to the national debt."

"Think about that. A third of our debt happened under just two Republicans," she added, in a jab at both Trump and former president George W. Bush. "It’s not just our presidents. It’s Congress, too."

Haley, the former South Carolina governor, veered into populism in her remarks to the deep-pocketed, fiscally conservative group, which was behind the band of Republican holdouts who briefly blocked Kevin McCarthy from winning the House speakership earlier this year.

Her speech to the donor summit comes one day after Trump supporters heckled Haley at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

Trump, who had a falling-out with Club for Growth after they backed opposing candidates during the midterm elections, was not invited to the donor gathering, which is taking place just a few miles from his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida.

"I know there’s a Republican candidate out there who you did not invite to this conference," Haley, who served as Trump’s United Nations ambassador, told the crowd. "I appreciate being one you did invite."

Haley slammed Republican lawmakers for voting in favor of COVID-related spending bills, and praised Club for Growth for "supporting primary challenges to squishy Republicans."

She also promised to "fight for term limits in Congress. If the president gets two terms, senators and congressmen shouldn’t get four decades or more."

Haley also pushed back at CNN host Don Lemon, who was briefly suspended from the network after claiming the 51-year-old former South Carolina governor was too old to be "in her prime."

Lemon had claimed on air that women are "considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s."

Haley quipped in her speech that "America is not past its prime; and no, Don Lemon, I’m not past mine either."

"But Joe Biden and too many of our politicians are past theirs," she added. "It’s time for a new generation of leadership."

Republican presidential candidates governor Ron DeSantis and former secretary of state Mike Pompeo are also speaking at the Club for Growth summit.