Haley, Republican leaders attend Vision ‘24 forum

Republican lawmakers got together at the North Charleston Convention Center to share their vision for the nation’s future.
Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 11:39 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 19, 2023 at 12:44 AM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Prominent national Republicans, including a few running for president, were in the Lowcountry Saturday for one of the first big speaking events leading up to South Carolina’s 2024 First in the South primary.

Republican lawmakers got together at the North Charleston Convention Center to share their vision for the nation’s future. The forum was held by the conservative Christian group “Palmetto Family Council.”

Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador, was one of the nine politicians at the forum. She sat for a moderated question-and-answer session that touched on topics ranging from abortion to the economy.

“Everybody wants to blame Biden for the situation that we’re in. Our republicans did this to us too. There are no saints in Washington, D.C. There are no saints in Congress because they don’t have a value for a dollar,” Haley said.

The other declared Republican candidate, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, told the audience conservatives now have an opportunity to solve the country’s national identity crisis.

“What does it mean to be American? It means you believe in basic concepts like merit,” Ramaswamy said.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who hasn’t announced his plan for 2024 yet, told the crowd that while the group he described as the radical left is trying to ruin America – he says conservatives like himself are working to restore faith in the country.

“In the freest, fairest land, we have not chosen grievance. We have chosen greatness. We are not victims. We are victors. We believe in the future of this nation because we believe in each other,” Scott said.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he’ll make an announcement on if he’s running next month.

“Even though I haven’t announced yet, and I’m going to make the decision, I still see South Carolina as critically important,” Hutchinson said.

The only other declared Republican candidate so far, Donald Trump, was invited but not in attendance.

Saturday’s forum started just a few hours after the former president announced he expects to be arrested next week on charges brought by a New York prosecutor.

It was addressed by a few speakers Saturday, including South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham – who’s backing Trump.

“The prosecutor in New York has done more to get Donald Trump elected than any single person in America today,” Graham said.

Also, in attendence were, Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn, Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, former Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers, former Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who left the Democratic Party last year after running for its presidential nomination in 2020.

Other politicians invited to Saturday’s forum who weren’t in attendance – include former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.