GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley said that pardoning former President Trump would be “healing for the country” as she took tough questions from voters days ahead of the New Hampshire primary election.
Haley fielded a series of tough questions at the town hall Thursday night, which came just five days before Granite State voters head to the polls for the GOP primary.
TRUMP SAYS NIKKI HALEY ‘HAS NO CHANCE’ AHEAD OF NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY: ‘MAGA IS NOT GOING TO BE WITH HER’
PARDONING TRUMP WOULD BE ‘HEALING FOR THE COUNTRY’
During Haley’s town hall on CNN, the former United Nations ambassador said she would pardon Trump if elected, but only if the GOP frontrunner were convicted of a crime.
Haley said that “the last thing we need is an 80-year-old president sitting in jail” because “that’s just going to further divide our country.”
“This is no longer about whether he’s innocent or guilty,” Haley said. “This is about the fact, how do we bring the country back together?”
Haley said she is “determined” to make the “division” and “chaos” go away and that she believes pardoning Trump “would make all of that go away.”
“And I think it would be healing for the country,” Haley said.
Haley got pushback from CNN when she answered a question about whether America was a fundamentally racist country.
She said if one tells a black or brown children they live in a racist country, “you’re immediately telling them they don’t have a chance.”
Townhall moderator Jake Tapper pushed back, saying “You’re talking about the ideals of America, but America founded institutionally on many racist precepts, including slavery.”
Haley said America’s ideals were present from the founding, but the country needed to correct certain places where the nation fell short of the intent of the Constitution.
“When you look at said all men are created equal, I think the intent the intent was to do the right thing. Now, did they have to go fix it along the way? Yes, but I don’t think the intent was ever that we were going to be a racist country. The intent was everybody going to be created equally,” Haley said.
Even though it took decades to fix certain aspects of the nation, Haley said she refuses to believe that the country was based on racism.
Another top moment for Haley came when she was asked about marijuana legalization. Haley said was a state-by-state issue, but wouldn’t commit to descheduling the substance.
Haley said she would “go with the scientists” on marijuana legalization, and added that she thinks “it’s obviously not in the same class as heroin.”
“But I also think when you’re looking at the legalization of this, I want states to be able to decide that,” Haley said.
“That’s something that should be as close to the people as possible,” she added.
CHILD TAX CREDITS ‘ACROSS THE BOARD’
Haley also said that she is “for child care tax credits for everyone” and said that the tax credits need to be done “across the board” to remain “fair.”
If you’re going to do it, do it across the board and make sure that it’s fair,” Haley said. “Look, when you look at the welfare system and you look at all of those other things, when you look at those programs, the goal that I want to look at is what are we doing to lift them up?”
“What are we doing to make life better for them?” Haley continued, citing her work as South Carolina governor to move people off of welfare and into jobs.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH FOR AMERICANS, NOT FOREIGN ACTORS
Haley was also asked about the idea she floated of social media companies identifying online users by their real name, as a national security concern.
The former U.N. ambassador said she “will always fight for freedom of speech.” She faced widespread criticism for her comments, but on Thursday defended her statement. She said she speaking about “when it comes to our tech companies, is there is a responsibility that our social media companies have.”
“What I think they should do is they should show us their algorithms,” Haley said. “They should be completely transparent so that you know why they push what they push, why you see what you see, all of that, that’s a business transparency situation.”
“I’m not saying that Americans have to disclose their name. What I’m saying is you have millions of foreign bots where there are no people behind them. When I was at the United Nations, Russia, China and Iran knew, and said it was the cheapest form of warfare. There are millions of bots that are spreading disinformation, that are sowing division in our country, and they’re doing this to spread harmful things to our younger teenagers.”
“And what I’m saying is those social media companies have to do something with the foreign bots,” Haley continued. “I will always fight for Americans’ freedom of speech, but I am not going to fight for Russians’ and Iranians’ and Chinese freedom of speech. And that’s what’s happening.”
DEMOCRATIC SUPPORTERS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
Haley was also asked about the support she has been garnering from Democrats in New Hampshire — where around 4,000 voters switched their registration from the Democratic Party, which some speculate could potentially help Haley in the primary.
The former governor said she has seen some independents align with her, and said “some Democrats say they want to support us because they’re not happy with Joe Biden.”
“What I want everybody here to remember is Republicans have lost the last seven out of eight popular votes for president,” Haley said. “That is nothing to be proud of. We should want to win the majority of Americans.”
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“The problem is, if you’re going to win the majority of Americans, you have to make sure as a leader, you don’t decide who’s good and who’s bad, who’s right and who’s wrong,” Haley said.
“You bring out the best of people and get them to move forward,” she added.