Surprising many political pundits, Democrat and Independent voters gave former South Carolina governor and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley high praise for sounding the alarm on the growing threat from China.
Haley’s comments were made during Wednesday evening’s second GOP presidential debate.
“We’re going to go after China because China is the one sending the fentanyl in the first place,” Haley said. “And we will end all normal trade relations until China stops sending fentanyl. And then we’ll do the special operations, and we’ll get it from both sides. This is where President Trump went wrong.”
Haley continued: “[Trump] focused on trade with China. He didn’t focus on the fact that they were buying up our farmland. He didn’t focus on the fact that they were killing Americans. He didn’t focus on the fact that they were stealing $600 billion in intellectual property,”
Haley added. “We need to start focusing on what keeps Americans safe. That hasn’t happened in a long time. As your president, I will make sure every American is safe.”
Fox News reported that Republican viewers “gave Haley an A for her answer.” Analyst Lee Carter was tracking voters’ responses in real-time and noted that Democrats and Independents awarded Haley a B for her comments.
In an interview with “Fox & Friends, Carter commented on the high marks given to Haley by Democrats and Independents:
“This was shocking to me,” said Carter. “Nikki Haley really has a resonance with Democrats and also a big appeal to independents, so you can see she’s going to probably surge a little bit more in the polls.”
Carter added: “I’m not sure it’s going to be enough to catch those 40 points that she needs to catch up, but certainly, I think she had a good night last night.”
Carter also commented on a response by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that garnered high marks from Democrats and Independents. On the topic of immigration, DeSantis said:
“As commander in chief, I’m going to use the U.S. military to go after the Mexican drug cartels. They are killing our people. And this border is going to be a day one issue for me as president. We’re going to declare it a national emergency.”
DeSantis added: “Yes, we’ll build the wall. We’ll do ‘Remain in Mexico,’ but those Mexican drug cartels are going to be treated like the foreign terrorist organizations that they are.”
Carter noted that DeSantis’ answer received an A grade from Republicans, a B from Independents, and a C from Democrats.
“They really liked that he had a strong position on this, but not only a strong position, but he was offering up a solution,” Carter said. “A lot of people are talking about the porous border. A lot of people are talking about how bad things are, not talking about something different.
Carter added: “This really broke through … Democrats acknowledge this is a really big concern and there’s something there that they wanted to hear more about.”
Carter also noted that South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy also received high marks for their comments on China.
The third GOP debate will be in Miami in November. It is not known if the GOP front-runner, former President Donald Trump, will participate in the event.
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