By: Chandrashekar Bhat
REPUBLICAN presidential aspirant Nikki Haley has hit out at two former US presidents from her party – George W Bush and Donald Trump – for adding $10 trillion to America’s national debt.
She also slammed president Joe Biden, a Democrat, for his record-breaking spending, which she said would add $20 trillion to the national debt in 10 years.
Haley said when she was elected governor of North Carolina in 2010, the national debt stood at $13 trillion.
“Thirteen years later, we are at more than $31 trillion. And because of Joe Biden, we will add $20 trillion more to the national debt in the next 10 years,” said the former governor, who on February 14 declared her decision to enter the race to the White House.
Haley was addressing the Club for Growth, a conservative donors group, at a private retreat in Miami on Saturday (4).
She went on to criticise Bush and Trump without naming them. “Lots of Republican politicians love spending and wasting taxpayer money almost as much as Democrats,” she said.
“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 said.
Bush served as the 43rd president of the US from 2001 to 2009 while Trump was the 45th president of the country from 2017 to 2021.
Haley also alleged that Biden’s platform for 2024 can basically be summed up as “spend even more, tax even more and let the children figure out how to deal with it”.
“The only thing Joe Biden should be allowed to spend is more time in retirement. Every dollar we take out of the economy makes our people poorer,” she said.
The Congress is not far behind, she noted.
“Republicans got the ball rolling on the trillion-dollar pandemic blowouts, with all the bailouts and fraud and abuse that followed. In one bill alone, they spent $2.2 trillion, and the vote was 419-6 in the House and 96-0 in the Senate,” she said.
“Do not let the media tell you Republicans and Democrats cannot work together. They always seem to work just fine when they are spending your money. And then there are earmarks. Do not even get me started on earmarks,” she said.
Haley, 51, told the conservative group that she announced her presidential run the moment she decided about it.
“It has been just over two weeks since I announced I am running for president. I know there is a Republican candidate out there who you did not invite to this conference,” she said referring to Trump.
Her former boss Trump, whose Mar-a-Lago residence is just a few miles from the Club for Growth’s retreat, did not receive an invitation to the gathering.
“I appreciate being the one you did invite. Others are hemming and hawing on the sidelines, waiting to decide what to do. I have always been a decisive person. Once I decided I was going to run, I did not see the point in waiting. When it comes to saving America, being decisive matters,” she said, making her case.
Haley said she was running for president to stop socialism in its tracks.
“Importantly, I am also running to restore respect for capitalism. The socialist left hates economic freedom. But so do some of our fellow Republicans,” she said.
Arguing that a strong economy is essential to national security, Haley said the United States will never stay ahead of communist China with socialist spending sprees.
“We will lose our place in the world if we continue to devalue our own currency. Economic freedom is the only way to protect our people and preserve peace through strength,” she said.
“There is one more reason we need a booming economy. It will help us pull out of this spiral of self-loathing. We need growth to defeat the woke. I firmly believe that one of the reasons our country is so divided and distracted is because our economy is stuck in neutral,” she said.
This was Haley’s second major speech in two days. On Friday (3), she addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference – the top annual event of the Republican Party and its support base.
Born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa to immigrant Punjabi Sikh parents, Haley is the third Indian-American to run for the US presidency in three consecutive election cycles. Bobby Jindal ran in 2016 and Vice President Kamala Harris in 2020.
Days after Haley announced her White House bid, Indian-American tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, another Republican, also launched his 2024 presidential bid.