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After Trump said she'd probably be in his administration, Haley heads to Israel

American politician Nikki Haley (R) and Parliament member Danny Danon (L) visit a kibbutz Monday that was damaged during the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Nir Oz, Israel.
Amir Levy/Getty Images
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American politician Nikki Haley (R) and Parliament member Danny Danon (L) visit a kibbutz Monday that was damaged during the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Nir Oz, Israel.

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley visited Israel over Memorial Day weekend, calling on the U.S. government to continue providing military aidto the Israeli government to support its war against Hamas.

“What America needs to understand is, if Israel’s fighting our enemies, how can we not help them?” Haley told reporters in a video posted online by the Associated Press.

Haley also criticized international bodies who’ve taken action against Israel, including the International Criminal Court, which recently said it is seeking arrest warrants against both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.

“American needs to do whatever Israel needs and stop telling them how to fight this war,” Haley added.

On her X account on Monday, Haley posted photos of her visit to a site where Hamas members attacked civilians last year.

American politician Nikki Haley meets with Hamas attack survivor, Tali Biner, during a visit to the 'Nova' Festival site on May 27, 2024 in Re'eim, Israel.
Amir Levy/Getty Images / Getty Images
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Getty Images
American politician Nikki Haley meets with Hamas attack survivor, Tali Biner, during a visit to the 'Nova' Festival site on May 27, 2024 in Re'eim, Israel.

“Early October 7, the people [of] Kibbutz Nir Oz woke to horror,” Haley said in the post, which went on to describe the murder of entire families. “They heard the screams of their neighbors set on fire and burned alive. What remained was robbed, looted, and destroyed. 1 in 4 of their neighbors were murdered or taken hostage in Gaza. No other country would accept this, Israel should not either.”

Haley’s visit came days after she said she would vote for former President Donald Trump in November. She made the comment on Wednesday during an appearance at the conservative think tank the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., where she now holds the Walter P. Stern Chair. Haley declined to make an endorsement when she suspended her Republican presidential primary campaign in March.

As widespread speculation continues about who Trump might choose as his running mate, he told TV station News 12 in New York last week that he thought Haley would likely have a role in his administration if he’s re-elected.

“We had a nasty campaign, it was pretty nasty,” Trump said. “But she's a very capable person, and I'm sure she's gonna be on our team in some form, absolutely.”

Jon McHenry, a Republican strategist with North Star Opinion Research, says Haley's visit appears designed to shore up U.S. support for Israel. He noted that President Biden, who has long been a supporter of Israel, has faced vocal opposition from the left wing of the Democratic Party over his Israel policy.

"I think it's probably a good reminder for President Joe Biden as he's looking to pull some of those Nikki Haley voters in the primary to his side in the general election that this is where they're at," McHenry said.

The trip may also help burnish Haley's image as a national leader with a strong foreign policy resume, he said, whether or not she has a role in a potential future Trump administration.

"It certainly keeps her on people's radar screens," McHenry said. "It may be less about what happens in 2024 and more about what happens in 2028."

Copyright 2024 NPR

Sarah McCammon worked for Iowa Public Radio as Morning Edition Host from January 2010 until December 2013.