Indian-American Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has vowed that if voted to power, she will cut every cent in foreign aid for countries like China, Pakistan and Iraq which hate America, saying "a strong America doesn't pay off the bad guys".
The 51-year-old two-term Governor of South Carolina and the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations formally launched her 2024 presidential bid earlier this month.
"I will cut every cent in foreign aid for countries that hate us. A strong America doesn't pay off the bad guys. A proud America doesn't waste our people's hard-earned money. And the only leaders who deserve our trust are those who stand up to our enemies and stand beside our friends," she wrote in an op-ed in the New York Post.
In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, she repeated her pledge to cut U.S. foreign aid to countries who are friends and followers of Russia and China, the two adversaries of the U.S.
"When I'm President, we will no longer give foreign aid to our enemies. We will stop that. [We] will start being smart, and will start being strong again," Ms. Haley told the channel.
In the op-ed a day earlier, she wrote that America spent $46 billion on foreign aid last year, which is given to countries like China, Pakistan, and Iraq. American taxpayers deserve to know where that money is going and what it’s doing, she added.
"They will be shocked to find that much of it goes to fund anti-American countries and causes. As president, I'll put a stop to this fiasco,” she said.
According to Ms. Haley, the Biden administration resumed military aid to Pakistan, though it's home to at least a dozen terrorist organisations and its government is deeply in hock to China.
She said that as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., she strongly supported then president Donald Trump's decision to cut nearly $2 billion of military aid to Pakistan because that country supported terrorists who kill American troops.
"It was a major victory for our troops, our taxpayers and our vital interests, but it didn't go nearly far enough. We've still given them way too much in other aid. As president, I will block every penny,” she added.
She said that the Biden administration restored half a billion dollars to "a corrupt United Nations agency" that's supposed to help the Palestinian people but in fact covers for deeply anti-Semitic propaganda against our ally Israel. She added the U.S. has given Iraq more than $1 billion over the last few years, even though its government is getting closer to Iran.
She said American taxpayers still give money to "Communist China for ridiculous environment programmes, despite the obvious threat China poses to Americans."
"We give money to Belarus, which is Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s closest ally. We even give money to Communist Cuba — a country our own government has designated as a state sponsor of terrorism,” she said, adding that it’s been happening for decades under presidents of both parties.
"I am running for president to restore our nation’s strength, our national pride and our people’s trust. Backing American allies and friends like Israel and Ukraine is smart. Sending our tax dollars to enemies isn't," she added.
"At the U.N., I put together a book of how much money we give other countries and how often they vote with us. It was eye-opening. We are giving huge amounts of cash to countries that vote against us most of the time. That doesn't make sense. I'll stop it. America can't buy our friends. We'll certainly never buy off our enemies," she added.
Less than a fortnight after entering the race to the White House, Ms. Haley is leading against President Joe Biden in a hypothetical match, according to the latest opinion poll on Friday. But she trails badly against leading GOP candidate former president Mr. Trump, Rasmussen Report said based on a survey it conducted between February 16 to 19.
Among the Republicans, she comes at the third position after Mr. Trump (52%) and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (24%).
Born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa to immigrant Punjabi Sikh parents, Ms. Haley is the third Indian-American to run for the U.S. presidency in three consecutive election cycles. Bobby Jindal ran in 2016 and Vice President Kamala Harris in 2020.
Days after Ms. Haley announced her White House bid, Indian-American tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, another Republican, also launched his 2024 presidential bid.
Before entering the presidential ballot, Ms. Haley has to win the Republican Party's presidential primary which will start in January next year. The next U.S. presidential election is scheduled to be held on November 5, 2024.