Jan 28, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Haley: Voters, not courts, should determine if Trump is on 2024 ballot

Nikki Haley, a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, speaks at a campaign event in South Carolina on Jan. 24. Photo: Sam Wolfe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said Sunday that she doesn't think former President Trump should be disqualified from the 2024 presidential ballot due to his legal woes.

Why it matters: Haley's statement comes as polls show some voters feel Trump should be disqualified from the presidential race if convicted of a crime, and as several states pursue efforts to keep him off the ballot.

  • Additionally, on Friday, a Manhattan jury ordered the former president to pay $83.3 million to writer E. Jean Carroll for defamatory statements against her.
  • Last year, a separate jury found Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll in the 1990s and later defaming her. However, the case played out in civil court and the former president was not found guilty of, or charged with, any crime.

What she's saying: Though Haley said she "absolutely" trusts the jury and thinks "they made their decision based on the evidence," she doesn't "think that should take him off the ballot," per an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.

  • "I think the American people will take him off the ballot. I think that's the best way to go forward — is not let him play the victim. Let him play the loser. That's what we want him to do at the end of the day," Haley said.

The former UN ambassador said she doesn't want "a political party deciding who's right and wrong" or "any judges who decide who deserves to be on the ballot and who doesn't."

  • Instead, Haley said she wants "the American people to decide it."

When "Meet the Press" moderator Kristen Welker pressed Haley on why she would "give him a pass on this issue, where a jury has found him liable for sexual abuse," the former South Carolina governor insisted she is "not giving him a pass on anything."

  • "I do think that these court cases are distracting, not just to the American people, but to him himself, which is keeping him from talking about what really matters. That's exactly why I don't think he should be president," she said.

Worth noting: Haley, who has called Trump "totally unhinged," has repeatedly questioned the 77-year-old's mental fitness.

  • After the jury's verdict on Friday, Haley said in a post on X that "Donald Trump wants to be the presumptive Republican nominee and we're talking about $83 million in damages."
  • "America can do better than Donald Trump and Joe Biden," she added.

Go deeper: Trump ordered to pay $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll in defamation trial

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