Former Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley says she will vote for Trump


By Michelle Nichols and Gram Slattery

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley said on Wednesday that she will vote for Donald Trump in the November election, despite lobbing harsh criticisms at her former rival for months on the campaign trail.

There has been immense speculation on who will receive the votes of Haley’s supporters in the Nov. 5 general election rematch between Trump and Democratic President Joe Biden.

While Haley dropped her bid for the Republican presidential nomination in March, her name has remained on the ballot and she still routinely wins well over 10% of the vote in state-run primary contests despite no longer campaigning.

Many of those votes are cast by Republicans and independents dissatisfied with Trump, and some Democrats have begun courting their support.

Haley, who served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for two years when Trump was in office, never seriously challenged the former president for the nomination, winning only one state and the District of Columbia before ending her campaign. But her fierce attacks on his character and competence in the final months of her campaign made Haley the standard bearer for the dwindling anti-Trump wing of the Republican Party.

“Trump has not been perfect on these policies. I’ve made that clear many, many times. But Biden has been a catastrophe. So I will be voting for Trump,” Haley told an audience during a question-and-answer session on Wednesday at the Washington-based Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank.

The comments followed a speech on foreign policy, and the event marked Haley’s first public appearance since dropping out.

When she ended her campaign, she did not endorse Trump, and she still has not formally done so.

In the past, she has called on Trump to reach out to her supporters and earn their votes – comments she repeated on Wednesday.

“Trump would be smart to reach out to the millions of people who voted for me and continue to support me and not assume that they’re just going to be with him,” Haley said.

Trump’s campaign has generally dismissed those calls, alleging that Haley’s supporters tend to vote for Democrats, even as many are registered Republicans.

(Reporting by Gram Slattery in Washington and Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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