Former 2024 Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said on Wednesday she will vote for Donald Trump in November after a bitter primary fight with the former president and months of silence since she ended her campaign in March.

What You Need To Know

  • Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said she will vote for Donald Trump in November after a bitter primary fight with the former president

  • Haley confirmed her decision in a foreign policy speech at the Hudson Institute, her first public remarks since departing the race in March

  • She added that she stands by her remarks from when she ended the race, that the ex-president must work to win over her supporters 

  • Despite dropping out of the race, Haley has continued to win significant support in recent primary contests

Haley confirmed her decision in a foreign policy speech at the Hudson Institute, a Washington think tank that she joined after the primary. They were her first public remarks since departing the race as Trump’s last major challenger within his own party.

“I put my priorities on a president who would have the backs of our allies and hold our enemies to account, who would secure the border -- no more excuses -- a president who would support capitalism and freedom,” Haley said. “Trump has not been perfect on these policies. I’ve made that clear, many, many times. But [President Joe] Biden has been a catastrophe.”

“So I will be voting for Trump,” the former U.N. ambassador added.

In a question and answer session after her speech where she was critical of factions of both parties, Haley went on to say that Trump should heed her advice that she offered as she ended her campaign.

"It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it, who did not support him," she said in her campaign suspension speech in March. "And I hope he does that. At its best politics is about bringing people into your cause, not turning them away. And our conservative cause badly needs more people."

“Having said that, I stand by what I said in my suspension speech,” Haley said. "Trump would be smart to reach out to the millions of people who voted for me and continue to support me and not assume that they’re just going to be with him. And I genuinely hope he does that.”

Trump promised retribution on Haley supporters and donors earlier this year amid a fury that she continued to challenge him even as other candidates had dropped out and backed him. Haley, who served as South Carolina’s governor before serving as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, declined to endorse any candidate after leaving the race. 

“I have always been a conservative Republican and always supported the Republican nominee,” Haley said in March as she announced the end of her campaign. “But on this question, as she did on so many others, [former British Prime Minister] Margaret Thatcher provided some good advice when she said, ‘Never just follow the crowd. Always make up your own mind.’”

Then, she urged him “to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support him.”

In January, Trump had threatened to blacklist Haley donors.

“Anybody that makes a ‘Contribution’ to Birdbrain, from this moment forth, will be permanently barred from the MAGA camp. We don’t want them, and will not accept them, because we Put America First, and ALWAYS WILL!” he wrote on social media at the time. 

As the primary turned more vicious, Haley sharpened her criticisms of Trump. In early February, she said “he's not qualified to be the president of the United States” after Trump mocked the absence of her husband who was deployed in Africa with the South Carolina Army National Guard.

Later that month, she said in a major address that “many of the same politicians who now publicly embrace Trump, privately dread him. They know what a disaster he's been and will continue to be for our party. They are just too afraid to say it out loud. Well, I'm not afraid to say the hard truths out loud. I feel no need to kiss the ring.”

Despite dropping out of the race, Haley has continued to win significant support in recent primaries, though far behind Trump. She won more than 150,000 votes, 16.5%, in Pennsylvania's primary in April, and won more than 21% of the Indiana primary, more than 128,000 votes, earlier this month. 

The Biden campaign has sought to win over her supporters in the weeks since she exited the race. But Haley offered numerous criticisms on Wednesday of Biden’s presidency and handling of international relations -- including claiming he is insufficiently supportive of Israel, slamming him for the deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan and needling him for his border policies.

Haley said during her remarks at the Hudson Institute she would soon visit Israel herself.