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Nikki Haley Encourages Utah Voters to Shift Values Back to ‘faith, family and freedom’

In her rally at Utah Valley University on Wednesday, Haley covered a variety of issues, including her disapproval of both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.
Nikki+Haley+greets+the+crowd+during+her+rally+in+the+Noorda+Center+for+the+Performing+Arts+at+Utah+Valley+University+in+Orem%2C+Utah+on+Wednesday%2C+Feb.+28%2C+2024.+%28Photo+by+Marco+Lozzi+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Marco Lozzi
Nikki Haley greets the crowd during her rally in the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

On Wednesday, Nikki Haley held a public rally at Utah Valley University in hopes of swinging Utah voters, despite former President Donald Trump’s dominant lead for the GOP presidential nomination. 

At the event, held in a packed room with an additional overflow room full of 500 people, Haley discussed many issues including border policy, fiscal responsibility, national security, veterans and the new direction she wants to take the country in — which she said is very different than both President Joe Biden and Trump.

Haley has lost five primaries to Trump so far but is committed to staying in the race until at least Super Tuesday — March 5 — when Utah and 15 other states and territories will cast votes. 

“I need you to know that we can do this, but we have to have faith, we have to have the will to be part of the solution and this is a chance for Utah to show the country the direction that we want to go,” she said to the audience.

The Utah Republican party is forgoing the presidential primary election this year. Instead, they are polling party members on what their preference for a presidential candidate is at neighborhood caucus meetings on Super Tuesday on March 5.

Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, who has endorsed Haley, spoke at the beginning of the event, vowing that she is a leader who can “bring people together” and “understands disagreement is okay.”

“She’s an incredible leader and her experience, her expertise, the depth and dignity [with] which she conducts herself is exactly what our country needs right now,” Henderson said. 

Nikki Haley speaks to the crowd during her rally at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle) (Marco Lozzi)

A ‘new direction’

Haley said one of the reasons she’s running is because there’s been an unwelcome shift, in her eyes, in the Republican Party since the beginning of Trump’s term as president.

“The Republican Party used to be the party of fiscal responsibility,” Haley said. “We used to be about smaller government; we used to be about stopping wasteful spending.”

She argued Trump’s presidency changed all of that, mentioning that he put the U.S. into even more debt — adding about $8 trillion.

“He didn’t shrink government — he grew government and didn’t stop the wasteful spending,” Haley said. “And Republicans followed suit with all the poor projects they started bringing in and they totally lost the respect of the taxpayer’s dollar.”

Haley said although she did vote for Trump twice, chaos follows him everywhere, so it’s time for a change.

“We can’t be a country in disarray in a world on fire and go through four more years of chaos,” Haley said.

Nikki Haley speaks to the crowd during her rally at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle) (Marco Lozzi)

Running For the Younger Generation

Haley said another reason she’s running is for the younger generation. She mentioned they have had to go through the traumatic COVID-19 pandemic and are wondering what the $34 trillion of debt the country is in means for them.

“They don’t know how they’re gonna get a job or make ends meet,” Haley said. “They don’t ever think they’re going to be able to afford a home and they think war’s gonna break out at any time.”

All of this, Haley argued, is on top of a country that is “full of anger, hatred and division.”

“And then we want to know why there’s so much stress, anxiety and depression with the younger generation,” Haley said. “They deserve to know what normal feels like.”

Ben Scheffner, a sophomore studying health care administration at the University of Utah, said he hopes Haley gets the nomination and has been impressed with her since before she announced she was running about a year ago.

“I really like Nikki Haley because she … has a lot of great experiences working with other nations and she really makes sure there’s balance throughout our country, as well as for others,” Scheffner said.

UVU student Emma Gardner said she was impressed by Haley’s speech and appreciated how she touched on topics that were relatable to her as a college student, “like talking about helping the housing market because buying a house for anyone our age is a nightmare,” she said. “I’m really excited for a woman potentially to be in office.”

Nikki Haley speaks to the crowd during her rally at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle) (Marco Lozzi)

‘Not normal’

Haley also heavily criticized Trump and Biden for the things that they’ve done that aren’t “normal.”

“It’s not normal for Joe Biden to care more about gender pronouns than he does if the kids can read them or not,” she said. 

Haley also said it’s not normal for Trump to spend millions of dollars from personal contributions on his court cases. That includes a recent ruling that ordered Trump to pay $454 million in fines and interest for lying about his wealth for years “in order to secure favorable loans and make deals that helped prop up his real estate empire,” AP News reported.

“It’s not normal for Donald Trump to call the supporters of his opponents and say that they’re barred permanently from his club,” Haley said. “And on top of that, Joe Biden is calling his opponents fascists and Donald Trump’s calling his opponents vermin.”

But Haley argued that this election is an opportunity for the U.S. to “change the tide.”

“I want to get us back to a country where it’s about faith, family and freedom,” Haley said.

 

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@Andrewwriter01

Nikki Haley talks with the media backstage before her rally at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle) (Marco Lozzi)

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About the Contributors
Andrew Christiansen, Online Managing Editor
Andrew Christiansen was the Assistant Editor of the news desk at the Chrony for a year before becoming Online Managing Editor in May 2023. He graduated from Salt Lake Community College with his associate degree in journalism and digital media in 2021. Andrew has also been a SLUG Magazine contributor since the summer of 2021 and has interned for KUER and The Salt Lake Tribune. When not writing or editing, Andrew can be found at concerts around Salt Lake (his favorite venues are Kilby Court and the Urban Lounge), watching movies at Salt Lake Film Society, or out on walks and hikes listening to music and podcasts.
Marco Lozzi, Photographer
Born in Texas and raised by Italian parents, Marco Lozzi grew up with two vastly different cultures. Now a sophomore at the U, he is majoring in communication with a journalism emphasis while also minoring in photography and Italian. He joined the Chrony to gain experience working as a photojournalist for a larger entity. When he's not taking or editing photos, he can be found hitting the slopes, napping, or making pasta.

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