(NEW YORK) — Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has indicated that she would support former President Donald Trump as their party’s nominee for the 2024 race even if he was convicted of a felony.
Haley was one of six White House hopefuls who raised their hand when asked that question by moderators during the first Republican candidates’ debate of the 2024 U.S. presidential campaign in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
When pressed on the matter the next morning, the former South Carolina governor wouldn’t say outright that she would vote for a convicted felon but said she would rather stand by Trump than the Democratic incumbent, President Joe Biden.
“I don’t even think it’s going to get to the point that Donald Trump becomes president. I think that I’m going to be the nominee and I think that we are going to win,” Haley told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos during an interview Thursday on Good Morning America.
“We’re going to let these court case play out. Everyone’s innocent until proven guilty,” she continued. “We’ll see what happens. If he’s guilty, he’ll have to deal with it.”
When specifically asked why she would support Trump if convicted, Haley told ABC News: “Because I am not comfortable with a President Kamala Harris,” referring to Biden’s vice president and running mate.
“I think we would be in a far worse situation,” she added. “A vote for Joe Biden is a vote for Kamala Harris”
Haley, who previously served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, insisted that “there is no way” Biden would “finish his term,” citing his age and a recent “decline” in his health.
“We can’t have an 81-year-old president,” she said. “We need to make sure we’ve got someone at the top of their game. Joe Biden is not at the top of his game.”
Haley’s comments came just hours before Trump is expected to surrender to authorities in Georgia’s Fulton County, where he and 18 others were charged in a sweeping racketeering indictment for their alleged efforts to overturn the state’s results in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Trump has said his actions were not illegal and that the investigation is politically motivated.
It marks the fourth indictment of the former president, who already faces federal charges in a special counsel’s probe into Trump’s handling of classified documents and his alleged efforts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election, as well as a New York district attorney’s investigation into Trump’s alleged “scheme” to boost his chances during the 2016 race through a series of hush money payments made by others and repeated falsification of business records to cover up that alleged criminal conduct.
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