Nikki Haley (Ri photo)

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has kicked off the Iowa leg of her week-old presidential campaign, suggesting the GOP must be forward looking and solutions oriented to win back the White House in 2024.

“We need to make sure that we’ve got the energy, the power and the ability to bring more people in to see that our solutions are the right ones,” Haley said this evening in central Iowa.

Haley spoke to over 300 people gathered inside a flooring showroom in Urbandale. A man in the crowd noted Donald Trump won Iowa in the 2016 and 2020 General Elections, and asked Haley why Iowa Caucus goers should vote for her rather than “someone like Trump.”

Haley’s immediately responded, “Because I don’t think you have to be 80 years old to be in D.C. I really don’t,” to cheers and applause from the crowd, then she continued: “Look, President Trump is my friend. He was the right president at the right time…As much as all the media and everybody wants to talk about the past, we’ve got to look forward. We’ve got to figure out what we’re going to do for America. This is bigger than a person and we need to fight for that.”

Haley told the crowd she was “proud to serve” in Trump’s Administration as United Nations Ambassador. After someone in the crowd asked about the war in Ukraine, Haley expressed admiration for the people of Ukraine and support for sending U.S. military equipment and ammunition to the fight.

“If we win this fight for freedom, it will send a signal to every enemy we have. If we lose this fight for freedom, Russia has said Poland and the Baltics are next and then we’ve got a world war,” Haley said. “A strong military doesn’t start wars. A strong military prevents wars. Our goal has to be to be strong enough that we prevent the next war.”

Haley is scheduled to hold a campaign event in Marion tomorrow. Tonight, Governor Kim Reynolds did not endorse Haley, but gave welcoming remarks at what was the first presidential campaign event in Iowa this year.

“Once again, the eyes of the country are on Iowa,” Reynolds said. “Iowa Republicans, you in this room are truly going to have the opportunity to kick off the 2024 presidential campaign and we’re excited about the opportunity to participate in the Iowa Caucuses.”

Haley, who may be competing with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the GOP’s presidential nomination, called Reynolds “the best governor in the country, hands down.”

Radio Iowa