- In a party turning America inward, its brightest stars built their résumés on foreign policy.
As the Republican establishment reaffirms its fealty to U.S. President Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention (RNC), two of the president’s most influential lieutenants appear to be vying for a bit of the spotlight themselves—and potentially positioning themselves for party leadership in a post-Trump era.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Nikki Haley, Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, devoted their prime-time addresses to promoting the president’s policy achievements in which they played a leading role.
“Both of them have an eye on 2024,” said Mark Groombridge, who served as a Republican political appointee at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations under John Bolton. “They are showing MAGA [Make America Great Again] land, the Trump base, that they are in his favor, and having a speaking role reinforces that view. It also helps introduce them to a broader public.”
Republican insiders say Haley and Pompeo both stand a credible chance of leading the party mantle after Trump leaves the scene, but they are likely to face competition from other aspirants, including Vice President Mike Pence, who delivered his speech from Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana home.
“I think they are both serious enough people. Not that that’s a criterion for office anymore,” said Danielle Pletka, a senior fellow in foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. “Does that mean they won’t get a run for their money from governors and senators and reality stars? Nope.”