Nikki Haley Refuses to Say a Man Cannot Become a Woman During Campaign Event

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Updated January 15, 2024 at 4:00pm ET

The Iowa Caucus is just hours away and social issues seem to be top of mind for at least some voters in the Hawkeye State. 

Extreme weather conditions in Iowa limited the 2024 GOP hopefuls to mostly virtual events over the weekend, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley turned a previously scheduled in-person campaign stop in Dubuque into a tele-town hall on Sunday. 

According to a recording of the call, Haley was asked by a voter whether a man can become a woman and she failed to provide a yes or no answer.

‘Can a Man Become a Woman?’

Haley was asked a very direct question by a caller who identified himself as “John” about men becoming women. She did not, however, offer a direct answer. Instead, Haley said people over the age of 18 “can live any way they want.”

Below is the audio recording obtained by The Megyn Kelly Show:

HOST: And with that, let’s go to our last question, John. John, you’re live from Dubuque.

JOHN: Hi, Ambassador.

HALEY: Hi, John.

JOHN: A lot of the stuff that Trump does, you know, and says, really bothers me, and I’m concerned about it. You know, one thing I saw him do was, he said that, uh, he had trouble answering the question, could a man become a woman? And I’m just wondering what, what your response to that question is?

HALEY: Yeah, I mean, I think first of all, let’s look at the facts. Again, I’m sorry that we didn’t make it to Dubuque, and, and I hate that we’re not there but I appreciate you coming on here. 

Look, I mean, I have said, I want to start with Trump and then get to the question. You know, this is a hard truth on my part. I believe Trump was the right president at the right time. I agree with a lot of his policies. But rightly or wrongly, chaos follows him. And everybody on this call knows that. And we can’t be a country in disarray and a world on fire and go through four more years of chaos. We won’t survive it. And I think a lot of that is how he communicates and what happens. It just sets us all in disarray, and we can’t afford a President Kamala Harris.

Now, can a man become a woman. There’s been a lot that’s been talked about when it comes to all of these roles and all of these issues. I strongly believe that we should not allow any gender change surgeries to anyone before the age of 18. Period. We– kids now can’t get a tattoo until they’re 18. We shouldn’t have them permanently change their body until they’re 18. And that includes puberty blockers, that includes any sort of hormones that would do that. 

After the age of 18, we want to make sure people can live any way they want to live. I don’t think government needs to be in control of anybody’s life. You go live the way you want to live, you should be free to live the way you want to live, and every– government and everybody else should stay out of your way. 

But prior to 18, it is an important time, especially when you’re going through your teenage years that can be confusing. I don’t think we should ever in any way have any sort of permanent changes. But after 18, I’m not going to say anything. I think that, you know, you always have to believe in freedom and allowing people to live the life the way they want to live, and if that’s how they choose then, you know, I don’t think government should have any say in that. 

Thank you for that question.

At no point did Haley actually address the question of biological males ‘transitioning’ to female and, presumably, the other queries that arise from that, including trans athletes’ competition in women’s sports, the use of women’s locker rooms, etc.

Where the Candidates Stand

The former South Carolina governor is not the first 2024 Republican candidate to make headlines for their position on this topic. Back in September, Megyn sought clarity from former President Donald Trump on where he stands on biological men in women’s spaces and how he feels about gender reassignment hormones and surgeries for minors. 

She also asked him directly: “Can a man become a woman?”

After a pause and chuckle, Trump offered this: “In my opinion, you have a man, you have a woman. I think part of it is birth. Can the man give birth? No, although they’ll come up with some answer to that also someday. I heard just the other day, they have a way that now the man can give birth. No, I would say, I’ll continue my stance on that.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was asked the same question by Glenn Beck during a September sit down. “No, how ridiculous that we’re even asking that question,” he responded. “And you know, sometimes people will knock me because they’ll say that he’s talking about woke and you shouldn’t worry about– like, like people say, ‘Who cares about it, right?’ Look, society needs to be grounded in truth and if you’re telling me a man can get pregnant and you’re telling me a man can become a woman, that is not true and I’m not going to accept that as true. I’m not going to be complicit in a lie.”

‘Wrong Answer’

No matter the political motivations, Megyn said Haley’s response was simply the “wrong answer” to the “most basic” question. “She was asked the most basic question – is the sky blue, is the grass green, does the alphabet start with ‘A’ – and failed the test. I’m sorry, she screwed it up,” Megyn said. “She completely dodged and wouldn’t give a straight answer.”

Ultimately, she thinks she knows what was to blame. “Nikki Haley knows very well what the answer to that is, but it was a pander to the radical, activist rabid trans representatives,” Megyn concluded. “She can reverse it – I am very open minded to having her reverse it. Until then, thumbs down.”

You can check out Megyn’s full analysis by tuning in to episode 702 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.