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Nikki Haley’s Pivot: Says She Would Pardon Trump But Criminal Cases Must ‘Play Out’



Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley campaigns in New Hampshire. (Photo: Imgur)

Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley appears to be signaling a potential shift in her stance on pardoning former President Donald Trump. During a recent CNN town hall in Henniker, N.H., Haley suggested that Trump’s criminal cases should “play out” before she would consider a pardon if elected president. This marks a departure from the possibility of a preemptive pardon, a move reminiscent of Gerald Ford’s action for Richard Nixon.

When questioned by Jake Tapper about the prospect of a preemptive pardon, Haley responded with a firm “No,” emphasizing the importance of letting legal processes unfold. Despite currently facing 91 criminal charges across four indictments, Trump’s legal battles are becoming a focal point in the discussion surrounding potential pardons.

“I think it’s important that that happens, and I honestly think President Trump would want that to happen. If he wants to defend himself and prove that he has been treated, you know, the wrong way or whether it’s political, I think he would want to fight for that,” she explained. “You know, you only want to talk about a pardon after someone has been convicted, so I would assume that we’d let that play out, and I would think he would want that to play out.”

Haley’s apparent change of heart raises eyebrows, particularly as she acknowledges the need for Trump to defend himself and prove any mistreatment. While maintaining the stance that a pardon should only be considered post-conviction, Haley aims to avoid the divisive scenario of an elderly president behind bars.

The candidate, who came in fourth place in Iowa at 19 percent, emphasized that the focus should be on healing the divisions in the country rather than dwelling on Trump’s guilt or innocence.


As Trump navigates four separate legal cases, including charges in New York and federal indictments related to his handling of government documents and attempts to overturn the 2020 election results, Haley’s evolving position adds an unexpected layer to the unfolding political landscape.