Jan 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Nikki Haley's new PAC steers clear of Trump brand

Nikki Haley is seen speaking during the 2020 Republican National Convention.
Nikki Haley addresses the opening night of the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo:Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is starting a new political action committee and, so far, she's conspicuously avoiding any mention of President Trump.

Why it matters: Haley is widely considered a contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, potentially pitting her against a Trump comeback bid. Her new group, Stand for America PAC, comes as the president’s political brand sags under the weight of a second impeachment and the Capitol violence preceding it.

What’s new: Stand for America PAC, a political iteration of Haley’s nonprofit of the same name, says it’s currently focused on the 2022 midterms, and will “recruit, advise, train and financially support strong conservatives to run in key House and Senate races to take back control of both chambers.”

  • The PAC’s online donation page rails against Democrats, including Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
  • Its website says Haley “campaigned for numerous great conservative candidates for the U.S. Senate and House.”
  • Neither the website nor the donation page mention Trump, Haley’s former boss, or feature a photo with him.
  • “There’s nothing to read into that," Haley spokesperson Chaney Denton told Axios. "Amb. Haley frequently and proudly mentions her work alongside President Trump in speeches and writings. The purpose of SFA PAC is to support Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections.”

Between the lines: Trump’s image has taken a major hit following the insurrection at the Capitol last week.

  • He retains strong support among his core voters, according to a new Axios/Ipsos poll, but Republicans generally are starting to waver.
  • According to that poll, independents largely reject Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Be smart: Haley's PAC work isn't a one-off; she explicitly criticized Trump's election challenges during a speech last week at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting.

  • “He was badly wrong with his words,” she said. “His actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history.”
  • But she has also recently encouraged Republicans not to "shy away" from the president.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include comments from Haley's spokesperson.

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