Nikki Haley's Tightrope

Some disappointed Republicans continued to circulate a photo of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., then South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., campaigning together even after Donald Trump won the nomination. It was an image of what might have been, depicting what syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock described as a “Republican rainbow coalition.”

Rubio and Scott have remained respected lawmakers in the age of Trump, but Haley is the sole member of that trio who has ascended as part of the administration. Only Vice President Pence is talked about more often as a presidential possibility than the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Haley’s star has only risen under Trump. But she has to avoid the pitfalls of upstaging the boss — or falling out of step with his “America First” foreign-policy instincts. She weathered one controversy when she got out ahead of Trump on imposing new sanctions on Russia. She said they were happening; the president decided, at that juncture, they were not.

“What gets lost in the coverage of their recent spat concerning Russian sanctions is that Donald Trump and Nikki Haley truly need each other,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “For Haley, her service in the Trump administration has been invaluable, it has raised her profile tremendously for future political endeavors. She could even conceivably parlay it into a 2024 Republican presidential nomination.”

“For Trump, Haley has been a calm, clear and consistent voice for the Trump agenda not only at the U.N. but also on the world stage,” O’Connell added. “Haley is someone who provides gravitas to Trump’s ‘outside the box’ thinking on foreign policy. It also doesn’t hurt that Haley is someone who is not only respected by the Republican base but also the mainstream media — truly a rare combination in these strange political times.”

For now, her fortunes ride on the fate of a more polarizing one. “Whatever differences Trump and Haley have on Russian sanctions will eventually dissipate because both recognize that if the Trump administration succeeds Nikki Haley will be the future beneficiary,” O’Connell said.

Read more from W. James Antle III at the Washington Examiner

Do you like this post?
Analysis & Political Strategy