January 19, 2024 at 5:00:00 PM
Taimur Rehman ‘25
This past Sunday, GOP presidential candidate Nimarata Randhawa Haley, known as Nikki Haley, placed third in Iowa Caucus. Haley was the former governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017 and the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2018. Haley has been touted as a moderate Republican candidate, and she is now one of the most popular Republican presidential candidates behind former President Trump. Haley’s political rise is well-documented, but her financial history has remained largely out of the public view.
Yet within her finances, a dark history of deep corporate and defense ties can be unearthed. During her time as Governor and after her stint at the U.N., Haley’s personal wealth was minimal and her family was largely in debt. After her time at the U.N., Haley’s assets markedly increased, allowing her to pay off her family’s debt and live a luxurious lifestyle, such as owning a home, per Forbes, now valued at nearly $5 million on South Carolina’s exclusive Kiawah Island. The question is, how did Haley achieve such a dramatic change of course? Where did she get all of her wealth?
The answer is quite simple, and it’s a path that many former politicians take once they leave office, through the defense and consulting sectors.
After leaving the Trump administration, Haley began to give speeches at advocacy groups, banks, and other businesses, which generated millions of dollars. According to NBC, a Haley spokesperson confirmed that Haley lacked copies of numerous paid speeches, saying that many were “question and answer” sessions, but there is little to no record of what was actually said during those engagements.
Her speeches are just the first part of Haley’s complicated and murky income streams. After leaving her role at the U.N., Haley joined the board of Boeing, one of the biggest U.S. defense contractors, in 2019 and earned over $300k a year. Later that same year, Haley became an adviser at United Against A Nuclear Iran, a secretive “advocacy” group, which has been labeled neoconservative due to its views on Iran. The group, advised by former Israeli intelligence officials, advocates for military strikes on Iran and according to Responsible Statecraft, ran a smear campaign against pharmaceutical companies that sent life-saving medicines to Iran during Covid-19.
Her deep connection to hardline advocacy groups such as UANI further displays her aggressive and pro-war foreign policy stance, a stance that stands to hurt American people. Per her financial disclosures, Haley has also received sums totaling over $100,000 from UANI. Haley’s husband, Michael Haley, nets over $500k a year from his own defense contracting firm, a number that would increase if Haley’s foreign policy took effect. Had Haley simply continued to serve in these posts, few would’ve scrutinized her views, values, or positions, but she is not following the traditional, although in my opinion, immoral route of most politicians by entering the private sector after politics. Instead, now Haley is gunning for office once again.
Nikki Haley’s “moderate” views and calm demeanor should not fool anyone. At her core, she is a war-hawk, intent on pulling America into the sort of unnecessary wars that have shaped the last forty years of American policy, caused hundreds of thousands of American deaths, led to millions of dead civilians in the Middle East, and cost the American taxpayer over $8 trillion, according to Brown University’s Watson Institute. Her deep ties to defense industries and her status as a favorite of the plutocracy clearly illustrate Haley’s devotion and appeal to her mega-donors. Like them, Nikki Haley also has an aggressive and harmful foreign policy in mind: a foreign policy that closely aligns with the Bush-Cheney era of corporate and defense industry interests being weighed heavily, sometimes more so than the public interest.
In my opinion, American foreign policy over the last twenty years has decimated the nation’s global standing. America is more divided than ever, and according to CNBC, 61% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. A government wherein the interests of those who stand to benefit from needless wars and the decimation of the average American’s wealth is not a government that the American people deserve. It’s not what the founding fathers envisioned. Plutocracy is the downfall of democracy, and Nikki Haley is a candidate who acts in the interest of her mega-donors and those who have supported her lifestyle since she left politics. According to Bloomberg, Haley’s campaign has seen massive donations from oil executives and corporate leaders. These people donate to Haley with an expectation in mind, an expectation that she will further their profits at the expense of the American people.
Donald J. Trump, a man touted as the most dangerous man in the running for the presidency, may hold extreme views and be a threat to democracy, but the American people know Trump. They know how Trump will behave, but Nikki Haley, whose entire life has been directed by the interests of defense companies, represents an equal harm to the American people. And for those touting Haley as a moderate, many of her policies are not much different than Trump's. She’s anti-gun-control, has promised to invade Mexico to fight the cartels, and called for the deportation of Senator Raphael Warnock over his views on immigration. In addition, Haley is staunchly anti-Palestine and has denounced a two-state solution or any other diplomacy, saying, “Whatever Israel says they feel like will keep them safe, I will support,” according to the Iowa Capital Dispatch.
Haley’s popularity and appearance as a moderate comes down to her “flip-flop” stance on issues. According to ABC News, Haley failed to identify slavery as a cause of the American Civil War at a campaign event in New Hampshire. This comes after having pushed for the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State Capitol building. Haley will change her views to please the audience; no one truly knows how she will act if elected.
Nikki Haley is a candidate that the American people should not trust to be a moderate, a candidate who will pull America into needless foreign wars, and a candidate whose entire fortune has come from defense companies and corporations. Donald Trump, while marred by his own terrible wrongdoings such as January 6th and his racist views, wishes to pull America out of foreign “forever” wars, especially in the Middle East, according to Reuters. No matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on, unnecessary wars provide no benefit to the American people, but for Nikki Haley, they stand to enrich her and satisfy her mega-donors.
Nikki Haley isn’t a safe option for the American people. She is a dangerous one, so vote carefully, or America will once again wage useless wars, all for the interests of defense companies and corporate interests, and Nikki Haley will be the one spearheading the charge.