Billionaire Ken Langone to meet with Nikki Haley, becoming latest GOP donor to weigh supporting her White House bid

Billionaire Ken Langone plans to meet with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley next week, becoming the latest prominent Republican donor to publicly weigh backing her White House bid.

Langone, a Home Depot co-founder, said he has not decided whether to throw his financial support behind Haley in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, but said he’s impressed with the “spunk” she’s shown in her campaign and her “reasonable” stance on abortion.

“Two things that appeal to me is that she’s a fighter, and she’s gaining ground,” Langone told CNN in an interview Monday afternoon. “Whether she can gain enough ground to be a spoiler, who knows? But a lot of people that I respect are jumping on her bandwagon.”

Haley, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, has seen growing donor interest in recent weeks as some establishment Republicans look to boost an alternative to former President Donald Trump, the current front-runner for the GOP nomination.

The growing list of GOP financiers deciding to support Haley – or to take a second look at her campaign – comes as her standing in the polls has improved.

A recent CNN poll with the University of New Hampshire, for instance, shows her moving into second place among likely Republican voters in the Granite State – although Trump still maintains a significant lead over Haley and the rest of the GOP field.

Aides to Haley’s campaign did not respond to a CNN inquiry Monday afternoon about the upcoming sit-down with Langone. CNBC first reported the planned meeting with Langone.

Langone backed Trump’s campaign in 2016 but has turned away from the former president. He said he first met Haley a couple years ago, but wants to hear her plans for the presidency before committing.

“I think she’s got the demeanor and the leadership skills to attract a lot of talent to her,” Langone said.

He specifically singled out how Haley has talked about abortion on the stump, given the string of Republican electoral losses on the issue since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

Haley has called for politicians to search for consensus on the issue and has painted as unrealistic any effort to pass broad abortion restrictions at the federal level.

During an appearance before evangelical voters earlier this month in Iowa, Haley said she would have signed a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy had the South Carolina legislature approved it when she was governor, suggesting that the issue should be left to the states.

“Whatever the people decide,” she said at the time.

Langone said the former governor “is being reasonable about this.”

“The Republican Party has got to understand one thing,” Langone said. “If they are going to make abortion – and by the way, you are talking to a devout Roman Catholic – but if they are going to make abortion an issue, we are going to lose every election.”

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