GOP mega-donor calls Haley ‘a tremendous candidate’

Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, a major backer of Republican campaigns, called former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley (R) a “tremendous candidate” for president but expressed doubt about her road forward Tuesday.

In an interview with CNBC at the MFA Network Miami conference, the billionaire hedge fund executive said he was still unsure whom he would support in the 2024 presidential election.

“So here’s the big picture. We’re down to two people on the Republican side running for president. I have supported Nikki Haley; I think she is a tremendous candidate,” he said when asked about reports from a few months ago that he supported Haley’s bid for president.

“And then, you know, frankly, I think Nikki Haley would run away with the general election,” he added.

Asked whether he thinks Haley has a path to victory, Griffin said, “It’s a narrower road than it was eight weeks ago. It’s just narrower.”

Griffin, who’s been a critic of former President Trump in the past, reiterated sentiments he has previously expressed toward the Republican front-runner, praising Trump’s economic policies while criticizing some of his behavior. Griffin said, however, that despite Haley’s strong foreign policy background, he thinks the geopolitical climate still favors Trump.

“So I know many of us, me included, you know, struggle with some of Trump’s behaviors,” Griffin said. “But there was a dimension of greater global security with him as president, particularly from U.S. interests.”

“I think there’s a sense of: Do we want to return to a president who was just viewed as more powerful, more in charge? And that’s going to be difficult for Nikki to overcome right now,” Griffin said. “Her poise? Admirable. Her foreign policy experience? Tremendous. Her ability to unite this country? Phenomenal.”

“I just don’t know, though, that at this moment that’s going to get her where she needs to get to in South Carolina and thereafter,” he continued.

Griffin did not answer directly about which candidate he would support in a hypothetical match-up between President Biden and Trump. Instead, the executive referenced polls about the number of Americans who don’t want a Biden-Trump rematch and said he counts himself among that majority. He also said he would still be involved in some down-ballot races.

“And I’ve said this to my friends who are involved in politics: You can be frustrated, you can be angry, you can be disappointed, but you can’t be uninvolved,” Griffin said. “So I’ve been involved in a number of the Senate races, a number of the House races. I’ll be very deeply involved here in Florida and Florida races locally. Just because we can struggle with who our choice of president is, doesn’t mean that we have to walk away from the field.”

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