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After endorsing Trump, Nikki Haley comes straight to Israel: Is she auditioning to be Trump’s Secretary of State?

I asked Haley about her relationship with the presumptive GOP nominee

Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaking at a press conference in Sderot, May 27, 2024 (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)

SDEROT, ISRAEL — Last week, after a bruising Republican primary battle that Donald J. Trump won decisively, former Ambassador Nikki Haley announced that she is determined to stop Joe Biden from being re-elected and would, therefore, vote for Trump in November, despite their differences.

This week, Haley hopped on a plane and flew straight here to Israel.


She certainly wants to show her solidarity with the Israeli people.

That’s why today she toured three Israeli communities – Kibbutz Nir Oz, the site of the Nova Musical Festival massacre near Kibbutz Re’im, and the city of Sderot – all located right on the Gaza border.

I had the opportunity to join her at each stop, watch her in motion, and ask her several questions.

It was moving to see such a prominent American political leader meet with, listen to, and even hug salt-of-the-earth Israelis who personally witnessed and experienced the barbaric Hamas atrocities first-hand on October 7th.

It was intriguing to listen to the questions Haley asked.

And the empathy she expressed personally with those Israelis, as well as at the press conference here in Sderot, the largest city on the Gaza border, even amidst the earth-shaking boom, boom, boom of near-constant IDF artillery fire at Hamas positions.

“What happened on October 7th was pure evil,” she told a gaggle of reporters.

“To my Israeli brothers and sisters, I say: We hear you, we see you, we hurt with you and we mourn every single life lost. For those families who have hostages taken, we won't stop fighting until everyone returns home. Don't listen to the media bites you hear,” Haley said.

“America is with you. October 7th hurt us all. This should not just be personal for Israelis. It should also be for Americans because Israel is fighting America's enemies. This is not going to go away by some policy agreement. It will only go away when we acknowledge the truth. So pick a side. My side is the one where we speak for those who can no longer speak and fight for those who can no longer fight.”

Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley with Knesset Member Danny Danon at the site of the Hamas massacre at the Nova Music Festival near Kibbutz Re'im, May 27, 2024 (Photo: Office of Knesset Member Danny Danon)

Haley has long lived and stood with Israel throughout her political life.

She has been here many times.

I have no doubt her visit this week is heartfelt and sincere.

But I suspect there’s another reason for the timing.

Nikki Haley is auditioning to be Trump’s Secretary of State.

Trump has already ruled her out as his Vice Presidential running mate.

But there’s a recent precedent for a primary runner-up being tapped to run the State Department.

Remember the bruising fight between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton?

It wasn’t pretty.

It got quite personal.

But after Obama won, remember who he asked to be his chief foreign policy spokeswoman?

Exactly – Hillary.

Could the same thing happen if Trump is reelected?

It could.

I’m not endorsing her for the role.

There will be other strong candidates, as well.

But Haley would be formidable.

She was Trump’s UN ambassador and acquitted herself well.

She was definitely very pro-Israel, and is highly regarded here.

Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks with survivors of the Hamas massacre at the Nova music festival in Re'im, May 27, 2024 (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)

The key question is whether she and Trump can rebuild a healthy relationship and rebuild trust.

During her press conference, I asked her to discuss this.

“Ambassador, thank you so much for coming to Israel,” I began.

“I'm with ALL ISRAEL NEWS and TBN, the most-watched Christian television network in America. Your relationship with President Trump was very, very strong. And you guys got so much done.”

However, I noted that their relationship “has been a little testy and intense and sometimes even personal” during the campaign.

“But you seem to be making the first step to saying, ‘How can we work together, and especially on Israel and the Middle East policy, Iran?’ These issues are so huge. So can you talk a little bit more about your relationship with Mr. Trump and how you think the party can come together? Because right now you're picking up 15, 20, 30% [in various primary states] that may not go to him. And that would mean a second Biden administration.”

“Look,” she said. “Smart politics is to make sure you're not personal. Right? And so I've always been able to take the emotion and the personal part out of politics, because that's the only way you can do the right thing

“When you start to get personal, when you start to get emotional, that's when you're not making good policy.”

“This is all about policy,” Haley added. “And when you look at the policies of the two [Trump versus Biden], I very much am on one side. It's not even close.”

She went further.

“I want to know that we're going to have the backs of our allies and hold our enemies to account. I want to know that we’re going to protect freedom at all costs, that we're going to protect capitalism at all costs. I want to make sure that we have less debt, not more… So that's where I'm looking at. That's who I'm voting for.”

“Are you optimistic about the relationship? Because it looks like a Grand Canyon between you and Trump at the moment,” I asked.

“But it’s not personal for me,” Haley replied. “You know, we worked very well together at the UN.”

“We sparred in a campaign. You know, if I thought either one of them was great, I wouldn't have run. I ran because I thought I could do a better job.”

“But at the end of the day, it is what it is. It's not personal for me. This is about America. It's about a strong America. It's about a strong Israel. It's about having the backs of our friends. It's about holding our enemies to account. And it's about us not having any chaos. Because when you're distracted, or you have chaos, bad things happen. We've got to get serious as a country. We've got to get focused as a country, and we have to get back to national security. No exceptions.”

Haley’s visit to Israel this week has been organized by Member of Knesset and former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon who is traveling with her and introducing her to Israeli soldiers, October 7th victims, hostage families, IDF officials, and senior government leaders.

“I am deeply honored to host Ambassador Nikki Haley during her visit to Israel,” Danon told reporters. “Her unwavering support, clarity and commitment to standing against the forces of evil are truly commendable.”

“Ambassador Haley, like Israel's resilient citizens, understands that, with or without world support, we have no option but to persevere and fight for victory, the complete eradication of Hamas and the return of our hostages. We remain resolute in our determination to ensure the safety and security of Israel and its people.”

Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.

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