'I'm Never Nikki': Sen. Rand Paul Issues Anti-Endorsement Of Nikki Haley

But the libertarian-minded lawmaker is "not yet ready" to endorse a Republican candidate for president.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a skeptic of foreign policy interventionism, takes issue with Nikki Haley's "involvement in the military-industrial complex."
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a skeptic of foreign policy interventionism, takes issue with Nikki Haley's "involvement in the military-industrial complex."
Mariam Zuhaib/Associated Press

In a video announcement as unique as the libertarian-minded legislator making it, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Friday delivered his anti-endorsement of Nikki Haley for president.

Paul declined to endorse a specific alternative to the former South Carolina governor, saying that he appreciates qualities in former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and even Democrat-turned-independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

“I’m not yet ready to make a decision, but I am ready to make a decision on someone who I cannot support,” he said in the video, which was posted to social media. “So I’m announcing this morning that I’m never Nikki.”

He has created a website, NeverNikki.net, where conservatives and libertarians can learn more about what he dislikes in Haley’s record.

Paul said he objects to her hawkish foreign policy views, her lucrative post-government work for Boeing and other entities, and her suggestion that she would support banning anonymity on social media to crack down on foreign meddling in U.S. culture and politics.

“I don’t think any informed or knowledgeable libertarian or conservative should support Nikki Haley,” he said. “I’ve seen her attitude towards our interventions overseas. I’ve seen her involvement in the military-industrial complex, $8 million being paid to become part of the team. But I’ve also seen her indicate that she thinks you should be registered to use the internet.”

He added: “I think she fails to understand that our republic was founded upon people like Ben Franklin, Sam Adams, [James] Madison, John Jay and others who posted routinely — for fear of the government — they posted routinely anonymously.”

Paul ran for president in the 2016 cycle, dropping out after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses.

Long a hero to small-government ideologues, it’s unclear what kind of sway Paul’s words will have among Republican voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and other early caucus and primary states.

But Paul’s skepticism of U.S. involvement in foreign conflicts has purchase beyond the GOP’s smaller libertarian contingent. Trump’s base of “MAGA” supporters are also wary of dedicating resources overseas that could be better spent shoring up U.S. border security. That’s part of why a sizable number of House Republicans have tried to hold up U.S. military aid to Ukraine as it seeks to repel a Russian invasion.

In Iowa, where caucusgoers will select their choice for the GOP nomination Monday, Trump is the runaway polling leader, but Haley and DeSantis are in a close race for second place. In New Hampshire, Haley has been ascendant, narrowing the gap with Trump, who remains the leader.

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