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Nikki Haley Receives Nathan Hale Patriot Award at Citadel Republican Dinner



Former SC Governor & U.N. Ambassador Delivers Presidential Type Speech For Attendees 

Jeff Walker, HSC Writer

Whether she’s positioning herself to seek another political office in 2022, or perhaps make a presidential run in 2024, former South Carolina Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has been keeping her profile up. Thursday (Dec 2nd) night the Citadel Republican Society honored Haley with the Nathan Hale Patriot Award, making her the first woman to receive its highest honor. Recent past recipients include former President Donald Trump, Senator Tim Scott, and Vice President Mike Pence.

Haley’s acceptance speech marked her first public comments in South Carolina since leaving her post at the U.N., where she served under the Trump administration from 2017 to 2019. Since leaving that post Haley has written her memoir ‘With All Due Respect‘, visited early-voting states, campaigned for fellow republicans, as well as established her own political action committee ‘Stand For America’.

No small surprise, the 10th annual Patriot Dinner was a much heralded and structured event. After the Citadel Cadet Chorale sang the National Anthem, much pomp and circumstance followed, including pre-taped opening remarks from Senator Lindsey Graham and SC Lt. Governor Pamela Evette. Other local and state luminaries from the world of politics, the military, and the Citadel spoke, all giving Haley high praise, which was a great lead into the main course for the evening.

A gifted orator, Haley revisited all the highlights of her time in the political limelight. She listed her many achievements while serving in the SC House of Representatives, as well as SC Governor. She noted she was the first female to lead the state of South Carolina. Although a well edited video captured all her accomplishments at the U.N., Haley spoke how she was not going to back down to any foreign power when United States interests were in jeopardy.

Haley reminded the GOP crowd how well off the country was just two years ago, and how quickly it has turned since Joe Biden has been in the Oval Office. Regarding Biden she said, “We have a total lack of courage and commitment from our Commander-in-chief.” She was quick to note that the next two election cycles (’22 & ’24) are critical for the United States. “Make no mistake, we will win the fight for America’s future.”

Haley listed all our former president did to make America great again, strengthening our military, building our economy, and securing our border. All positives Haley says Biden has erased in just 11 months in office. Earlier this year Haley has gone on record saying she wouldn’t run in 2024 if Trump decided to re-enter the race, but with mixed opinion regarding Trump this time around, several high profiles republican names have been tossed around, and Haley’s is near the top.

Safe to say, Haley has kept extremely busy while not officially holding a public office. Although there was a booth located in an entryway pushing Trump 2024 hats, the dining hall was decidedly pro Haley, with several speakers mentioning her as the next president of the United States, and with a resounding ‘Haley 2024’ from the crowd at the end of her speech.

What will unfold for Nikki Haley over the next few years may still be uncertain, but it’s clear she is a force to be reckoned with in the republican party, and she is not done serving this great country. “When I look at the future, I’m marveled at what I see.”

Held annually and hosted by the Citadel Republican Society, the Citadel Patriot Dinner supports the cadets of the society, and their annual trip to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. Since 2008, the Citadel has sent the single largest school delegation to the conference, which gathers over 13,000 conservatives from across the country. The Corps of Cadets presented Haley with a replica musket signifying the Nathan Hale Patriot Award.

Two scholarships were additionally awarded at the annual dinner. The cadet who has worked the hardest for the Republican cause in Charleston receives the the Henry E. Brown Republican Workhorse Award. The Barrett-Buyer Republican Scholarship, named for the Honorable Congressman Gresham Barrett and the Honorable Congressman Steve Buyer, both Citadel graduates is given to a member of the Republican Society who has shown leadership both in the club and in the Corps of Cadets.

The 2021 scholarship winners respectively were Cadet John Mace McGrath, President of the Citadel Republican Society, and freshman Cadet Benjamin Gilman.

Although Haley did not take questions from the media after her speech, she did what many politicians do best. She stayed to take photos with cadets and attendees, engaging in small talk with guests. Whether she’s positioning herself for another office or the highest office in the land, only time will tell. For more on her political views visit her website at


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