Haley says US forces ‘must align’ with countries like Russia; campaign says she misspoke

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) — Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley suggested in an interview that U.S. forces “must align” with non-European nations, including Russia, to bolster global security, a remark her campaign called it a gaffe.

Asked by WMUR-TV on Wednesday for a segment on which parts of the world she thought the United States could pay more attention to, Haley – who served the Trump administration as a United Nations ambassador, said first declared “the Arab world”, claiming that the United States needed Arab countries “to join us” in opposing Iran.

“You see Saudi Arabia making deals with China, it’s not good for us. We need them to be with us and then we have to align with the others, Russia, Australia, the Japan, Israel,” Haley added.

“We have to start focusing on the allies we have besides the Europeans and make sure we have more friends – one, for our needs, so that we are not dependent on an enemy for energy or drugs or whatever, and then secondly, to make sure that we build these alliances so that the world is a safer place.

On Saturday, Haley’s campaign said the candidate misspoke when she included Russia along with the other countries.

“It’s completely ridiculous, she obviously misspoke,” spokesman Ken Farnaso told The Associated Press on Saturday. “No one has been tougher on Russia than Nikki Haley.”

Asked to comment on the interview, Haley, in a statement to the AP, called the country an “enemy” and called President Vladimir Putin a “thug.”

“I fought them at the UN and I will continue to fight them,” Haley said. “They want to destroy us and our allies, and they cannot be trusted.”

During her tenure as UN ambassador under the Trump administration, Haley criticized Russia, denouncing its invasion of Crimea, condemning the country for ‘holding hands’ with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un then countries were fighting over sanctions. She also called Russian corruption a “virus” that “hinders our ability to achieve complete denuclearization in North Korea.”

A division has emerged within the Republican camp over how the United States should handle the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In response to a question earlier this year from then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Haley said American support for Ukraine was essential against an anti-American regime that “is trying to expand brutally by force in a neighboring pro-American country”. a Russian victory would only make countries like China and Iran “more aggressive”.

At the time, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has since entered the GOP primary race, argued that stopping aggression was not of vital strategic interest to the United States, calling the situation of “territorial dispute”.

A number of fellow Republicans criticized DeSantis’ initial remarks. Trump, who had called on European countries to share more of the financial burden of Ukraine’s defense, said DeSantis’ responses “follow what I say.” A day later, Haley said she agreed with Trump that “DeSantis is copying him,” writing in an op-ed that characterizing the war as a “territorial dispute” represented a “weakness.”

Following these criticisms, DeSantis said his previous comments referred to ongoing fighting in the eastern Donbass region, as well as Russia’s 2014 capture of Crimea. Ukraine’s borders are internationally recognized, including by the United Nations.

For months, Stand for America, a super PAC that backs Haley, has aimed to draw a contrast between the former South Carolina governor and DeSantis.

“While DeSantis shifts his policy stances depending on the mood of his donors and TV hosts, Haley never backs down,” SFA chief strategist Mark Harris said in a statement last month.

On Saturday, a spokesperson for Never Back Down, the DeSantis-backing super PAC, called Haley’s remark to WMUR “almost as bizarre as her alignment with woke Disney,” a reference to criticism from the former governor of North Carolina. South on the ongoing dispute between DeSantis and entertainment. giant, which she said his home state would “happily accept” if he chose to leave Florida.

The United States has increased military aid to Ukraine as the Russian invasion enters its 16th month. In late May, President Joe Biden approved a new aid package totaling $300 million and including additional drone ammunition and a range of other weapons.

To date, the United States has committed more than $37.6 billion worth of weapons and other equipment to Ukraine since the attack on Russia on February 24, 2022. This latest package will be carried out under presidential authority. withdrawal, which allows the Pentagon to take weapons from its own stockpiles. and quickly ship them to Ukraine, officials said.


Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

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