Nikki Haley begins experiment in political life after Trump

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Of the many senior officials to leave the Trump administration over the past two years, few have exited on better terms than former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. Before her departure last December, President Donald Trump feted Haley with an Oval Office photo-op and declared that his U.N. diplomat “has been very special to me.”

And while many former Trump officials, from former White House chief of staff John Kelly to former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, have kept a low profile in the private sector, Haley is charting a different course. She is emerging as a fundraiser and surrogate for 2020 Republican Senate candidates, and next month will begin zigzagging across the country to campaign for a trio of GOP senators.

By remaining a loyal Republican soldier on good terms with the president — a forthcoming memoir is not expected to join the ranks of cutting insider tell-alls — Haley is also something of a test case for independent political life after Trump.

The former South Carolina governor’s summer itinerary includes a June 15 stop in Boone, Iowa, where Haley will help Sen. Joni Ernst launch her reelection campaign at Ernst’s annual Roast ’n Ride event, where Iowans are slated to grill over 2,000 pounds of pork. Given its location in a key presidential caucus state, the event is sure to spark murmurs about Haley’s own political ambitions, including the prospect of a 2024 presidential bid.

She has already begun to reemerge on the public stage, including with remarks Thursday before an economic club in Grand Rapids, Mich., where she echoed Trump’s recent warnings that socialism threatens the U.S. — a message likely to be a key Trump 2020 campaign theme. Though they have not set a firm date, Haley has spoken with senior adviser Jared Kushner and the president himself about joining him on the campaign trail in 2020, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

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