Nikki Haley dodges question on whether a man can become a woman

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley chose not to answer a question about whether men can become women, instead saying that the government should allow such surgeries for adults, during a town hall Sunday.

Haley, who previously served as United Nations ambassador and governor of South Carolina, appeared to dodge the question from an Iowa voter about transgenderism during the town hall. The Haley campaign held the town hall via teleconference which was held after a blizzard forced it to cancel a planned in-person event in Dubuque, Iowa.

“We shouldn’t have them permanently change their body until they’re 18,” Haley told the voter, according to audio of the event first obtained by the Daily Caller. “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 government and everybody else should stay out of your way.”

“I think that, you know, you always have to believe in freedom and allowing people to live 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,” the former ambassador continued.

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Former United Nations Ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican presidential candidate, holds up a commit to caucus card during a campaign event at Jethro’s BBQ in Ames, Iowa, on Monday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Haley added that she strongly believed children under the age of 18 years old should not be legally allowed to proceed with any gender surgeries. She noted tattoos are illegal for anyone younger than 18 years old.

She failed, though, to ever say in her answer whether she believed a man could or could not become a woman. 

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Haley’s comments were later highlighted by Never Back Down, a super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Nikki Haley dodged the question when she was asked whether a man can become a woman,” Never Back Down said in an X post Monday.

The group added that DeSantis simply answered “no” when asked during a radio interview  last year if a man could become a woman.

Haley’s comments, meanwhile, come ahead of the Iowa caucuses which are slated to take place Monday evening. 

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Trump, Haley, DeSantis and Ramaswamy split image

Former President Donald Trump, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy are vying for the Republican presidential primary nomination. (Getty Images)

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The Haley campaign didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub

Fox News Digital reporter Greg Wehner contributed to this report.

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