May 24—GOFFSTOWN — Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said Wednesday she would support a national abortion ban “if there was consensus,” but said it is highly unlikely that the next president could build that.
If elected, the former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador said she would seek bipartisan support to ban late-term abortions, expand adoption and the use of contraception and allow any doctor to refuse to perform one.
Haley said it would take 60 GOP senators to ban abortion, and it has been more than 100 years since there have been that many Republicans in the U.S. Senate.
“No Republican president could ban abortion any more than a Democratic president can get rid of all the pro-life laws in the states,” Haley said Wednesday in remarks at the Politics and Eggs forum at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, co-sponsored in partnership with the New England Council. “It’s just not practical.”
On other topics, Haley said both major political parties bear responsibility for the record $31 trillion federal debt, and the war in Ukraine must be won to prevent a future world war that unites Russia and China against the West.
Along with solving the southern border crisis, Haley said Congress should approve immigration reform, end quotas and tie the level of legal immigration to the needs of American industry for skilled workers.
“Don’t let them tell you that Democrats and Republicans can’t cooperate on something. They love to spend your money,” Haley said.
“Let’s stop the spending, let’s stop the borrowing, let’s stop the earmarks. I will veto any spending bill that does not bring us back to pre-COVID spending levels.”
Haley criticized some sports organizations for permitting biological males to compete as females in girls’ sports.
“It is the women’s issue of our time. Where is everyone?” Haley asked.
“I had a daughter who competed in high school track. I wouldn’t even know how to have that conversation with her.”
Later Wednesday, Haley hosted town hall forums in Bedford and Concord, promising to outwork all her GOP rivals.
New ad mocks DeSantis
While Haley did not mention her newest Republican opponent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, by name, the campaign posted an ad on digital media outlets mocking DeSantis for his effusive praise of former President Donald Trump in the past.
“America deserves a choice, not an echo,” the ad said.
Haley said a soaring increase in veteran suicides is behind a 25% drop in U.S. military recruitment.
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the number of veteran deaths by suicide is four times the number killed in combat.
“Seventeen of our heroes commit suicide every single day — that’s shameful,” said Haley whose husband is a South Carolina National Guard veteran who served in Afghanistan.
Haley said the way to improve health services provided by the the Department of Veterans Affairs is to make the VA the place federal politicians must go for their own health care.
“When everyone in Congress has to go to the VA for their care, I believe they will fix that place right up,” Haley said.
Jeremy Conrey of Dover asked Haley about her support for the Second Amendment in the wake of more mass shootings.
Haley said 17 of the past 18 shooting incidents have involved someone with mental illness, and tougher gun control laws would not solve that.
“The way we protect Americans is to make sure Americans can protect themselves,” Haley said.
Conrey, a strong gun-rights proponent, endorsed that response.
Conrey also liked that Haley is an accountant. “I definitely agree with her that we need someone with a financial background to change things in Washington.”
“We have too many people who have gone to Washington as smooth-talking lawyers and left as millionaires because their focus was not on helping people but on ingratiating themselves.”
Bridging the divide
When Palmer Millar, a CPA from the Boston area, asked how Haley could close the partisan divide, the candidate talked about her campaign to take down the Confederate flag outside the South Carolina capitol building after the 2015 shooting that killed nine Black people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.
The killer had posed with a Confederate flag.
“We didn’t have riots in South Carolina; we had vigils. We didn’t have protests; we had hugs,” Haley said. “It starts with leadership. That’s what you have to do.”
Millar said Haley’s long answer impressed him.
“I thought it was a very passionate and very honest response from her. It clearly seemed to come from the heart,” Millar said.
Gus Fromuth of Bedford asked Haley what the U.S. should do to avoid sending U.S.-made oil and gas to countries in Europe that refuse to approve their own fossil fuel or nuclear power plants.
Haley responded, “It is a national security issue that America has become energy independent.”
Fromuth said he was looking for more specifics.
“She had a generic answer on that,” he said.