Haley spoke with the former Fox News host at the Family Leadership Summit, being held in Des Moines, Iowa. Several other Republican presidential hopefuls also took part in the event.
Haley, who declared her candidacy for president in February, spoke about reforming federal agencies and what she would do about climate change, and was asked a foreign policy question that caught her off-guard during the 30-minute interview.
“They are saying that Joe Biden got 81 million votes, and my question is: Do you accept that, and second, how do you think he did that?” Carlson asked.
“All I care about is changing that. We can’t afford a President Kamala Harris. I will say that over and over,” she answered, adding that what can be learned from the 2020 presidential election is that states need to implement voter ID laws.
“What I said in South Carolina is that if you’ve got to show a picture ID to buy Sudafed, if you’ve got to show a picture ID to board a plane, you have to show picture ID to protect the election process,” she said.
More than just voter IDs, Haley said that protecting voter integrity is a process that can “never stop.” Haley further explained that in her role as U.S. ambassador to the U.N., she saw how voters’ losing faith in the electoral system is the first step in a country falling apart.
When Carlson asked her if there were problems with the 2020 election, she said that there were “irregularities,” including “mail-out balloting that shouldn’t have happened.” However, Haley said she didn’t think those problems were significant enough to have changed the outcome of the election.
Reforming Radicalized Agencies
Carlson said that various government agencies—such as the CIA and FBI—“interfered” with the 2020 presidential election. He asked Haley what she would do, given that many people think government agencies have become too powerful.
“When I was governor, I went and replaced the heads of every agency,” she answered. “The American people don’t trust our intelligence agencies, so you can’t just replace the person at the top. You’ve got to go through and really look at gutting those agencies.”
Haley said that the people she staffed South Carolina state government agencies with weren’t necessarily aligned with her politically, but they had deep knowledge in the narrow field they were assigned to. She said she sent teams into every agency to clean them up.
“In some cases, we had to tweak agencies. In other cases, we had to gut agencies,” Haley said.
Regarding federal agencies, such as the intelligence services, Haley said you can’t trust them to fix themselves. She said the solution isn’t just to put a good person at the top of an agency, but to review and possibly clear out much of the senior management.
The former ambassador to the United Nations said that something important to understand when dealing with the bureaucracy is that “every action you take matters.” She said in her first week as the U.N. ambassador in early 2017, somebody in her department called the press and told them what she was planning to do.
“None of it was what I was going to do,” Haley said, adding it turned out the U.N. staff member was former Secretary of State John Kerry’s sister, who couldn’t be removed for six months.
“I said, ‘You take her pass. You take her computer. We will pay her to sit at home, but she is not to walk back into this building,’” Haley said to loud applause.
Carlson discussed with Haley what she would do about the issue of climate change were she to become president. He asked her whether she thinks the climate is changing, and if so, why it’s changing.
“Honestly, I don’t know how much is being changed or not, as much as I know that putting electric vehicles on the road is not the answer to what you’re doing,” she said.
Haley said that the biggest problem the U.S. has right now is that our leaders have to go “hat in hand” to Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela to get oil.
“We should be energy independent, no matter what. I don’t care what anybody says about the environment,” Haley said. “This is a national security threat of not having energy independence.”
She said making sure the U.S. is energy independent would be one of her primary focuses as president.
Carlson then switched topics.
“Who blew up the Nord Stream pipeline?” the former Fox News host asked.
The Nord Stream pipeline, which transported natural gas under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, was severed by a series of bomb explosions in September 2022.
“I mean, I don’t know, do you?” the ex-governor of South Carolina answered in a moment of levity.
Carlson laughed, and said that the evidence suggests it was the Biden administration.
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