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Demands mount for Trump to dump Pence for Haley

“To have the best chance of re-election” Trump should replace Vice-president Mike Pence with Haley, Andrew Stein, who launched the Democrats for Trump group in 2016, wrote in a column in The Wall Street Journal.

world Updated: Jun 25, 2019 16:53 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Washington
Donald Trump,Nikki Haley,Mike Pence
Efforts to draft Indian American Nikki Haley as President Donald Trump’s running mate for his 2020 re-election bid have been under way for some time now, but it scored its most high-profile pitch yet Monday with a column in a leading conservative-leaning news publication.(REUTERS Photo)

Efforts to draft Indian American Nikki Haley as President Donald Trump’s running mate for his 2020 re-election bid have been under way for some time now, but it scored its most high-profile pitch yet Monday with a column in a leading conservative-leaning news publication.

“To have the best chance of re-election” Trump should replace Vice-president Mike Pence with Haley, Andrew Stein, who launched the Democrats for Trump group in 2016, wrote in a column in The Wall Street Journal, which many speculated, could not have run without the approval of the owner Rupert Murdoch, who speaks frequently with the president and whose counsel Trump is said to take seriously.

Stein argued that Pence has done all he could for the president by delivering evangelicals votes in 2016. Trump now needs help to overcome a “greater obstacle to re-election”, which comes from comes from “politically moderate suburban women, many of whom see him as divisive” the columnist wrote.

That’s where Haley, the former ambassador to the UN and two-term governor of South Carolina, can help. She is widely respected in the Republican party and is among the rare Trump cabinet officials to leave the administration on amicable terms.

If Trump is persuaded to switch and Haley, who was born Nimrata Randhawa to immigrants from Amritsar, agrees, she will become the first Indian American and the first Asian American to run for vice-president And if elected, Haley will be the first woman vice-president. Period.

Her run, if and thus, will have other India angles. She might be facing Kamala Harris, the half-Indian American who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination and could end up running against Haley’s boss if she succeeded. Is she failed, there is speculation, she could be an alluring V-P pick for the eventual winner. There has been some talk of a Joe Biden-Harris ticket, if the former vice-president secures the nomination.

Haley has her own White house ambitions, which she confirmed in a way in remarks at the White House announcing her resignation last October. “No, I am not running for 2020 (,” she said, with the president by her side. Note: she only denied she was not running in 2020, and not her intention to run at all. Turning towards him, she had added, “I can promise you what I will be doing is I will be campaigning for this one. I look forward to supporting the president in the next election.”

Haley did not say she would decline a place on the 2020 ticket.

And the idea of a Trump-Haley run is gathering support, with a spike in recent days, despite the fact that Trump publicly acknowledged Pence as his running-mate, which never really did end the speculation. The New York Times had carried a story shortly after that the president was questioning Pence’s loyalty in private conversation with aides.

Trump had dismissed the report as “phony”, and said no president would have enjoyed a closer relationship with their deputy than he and Pence.

Maggie Haberman, co-author of that Times report, tweeted Monday, “Here’s something that doesn’t happen without a Murdoch nod”, with a link to the Journal oped. And with a link to her own article, she wrote in a subsequent post “Murdoch is among those who Trump speaks frequently with who has mulled about the 2020 ticket. It was possible chicken or egg in Trump asking about Pence loyalty months ago.’

On Friday, Adam Goodman, a Republican media consultant, wrote in Tampa Bay Times, a key news publication in key electoral state of Florid, contended in a column that despite delivering a “strong economy’, being a “fearless agent of reform” and succeeding as a “visceral messenger” for his supporters, “something is missing”.

“Enter Nikki Haley, stage right. The Democrats may have no answer for her,” Goodman wrote.

First Published: Jun 25, 2019 16:51 IST