Nikki Haley says Donald Trump ‘not as sharp’ after Nancy Pelosi gaffe
Nikki Haley called into question Donald Trump’s mental fitness after the former president confused her with Nancy Pelosi at a New Hampshire event.
Former President Donald Trump appeared to consolidate his lead among New Hampshire voters in new polls out Sunday as one challenger ended his campaign and the other sought to gain momentum two days away from the state’s highly anticipated, first-in-the-nation primary.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis bowed out Sunday, saying he could see no credible path to claiming the nomination. Haley remained undeterred, hammering Trump for an apparent gaffe at a recent campaign rally and calling his “mental stability” into question.
On the Democratic side, Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and motivational speaker and author Marianne Williamson are attempting to gain traction in the race by having a strong showing. President Joe Biden doesn’t appear on the ballot, but a write-in campaign is being waged on his behalf. The state is holding its contest earlier than this year’s Democratic primary calendar allows, and candidates who appear on the ballot here will not be eligible to accrue delegates to the national convention.
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Trump and Haley showed gains in new polls released Sunday. Trump increased his lead over Haley by 2 points, to 19%, according to the latest Suffolk University/NBC10 Boston/Boston Globe daily tracking poll. Trump now leads by 55% to 36%; DeSantis was polling at 6% hours before he dropped out.
In a new poll from CNN and the University of New Hampshire, Trump holds 50% support among likely Republican primary voters in the state, and Haley is second at 39%. Both have gained strength since the last CNN/UNH poll in early January – when Trump held 39% to Haley’s 32%. But the gap between the two leaders has once again reached double digits.
Trump has the backing of 67% of registered Republicans in the state, the CNN/UNH poll indicates, along with 71% of conservatives and 55% of those who do not have a college degree. Haley is stronger than Trump among independent and college-educated voters.
Appearing on a Sunday news show, Haley said Trump’s mixing her up with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was not the first time he has exhibited signs of mental decline.
“There have been multiple things,” Haley said on CBS’ “Face The Nation.”
The former South Carolina governor noted that Trump has accused Biden of risking “World War Two” − he meant “World War Three” − and Trump has claimed he ran against Barack Obama (he didn’t). She spoke two days after Trump repeatedly cited “Nikki Haley” when discussing his dispute with Nancy Pelosi about security on Jan. 6, 2021.
Haley told CBS that people of a certain age, whether it is Trump or Biden, “their mental stability is going to continue to decline. That’s just human nature. We know that.”
Haley hits Trump on mental fitness: Ex-president confuses her with Pelosi in NH
Trump is looking for a Republican campaign knockout punch. Haley is trying to keep her 2024 campaigns alive. Given the stakes, the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday will probably be a big turning point in the Republican presidential race − and perhaps end it altogether. Coming off a convincing win in the Iowa caucuses, Trump has repeatedly said he will pressure rivals to get out of the race if he takes a “big vote” in New Hampshire. He shakes off concerns about the four criminal trials he could face in the months ahead.
“We have to win by a lot,” Trump told backers Saturday in a chilly hockey arena in Manchester, later adding: “Now’s the time for the Republican Party to unify.”
Prep for the polls: See who is running for president and compare
President Biden on Sunday took aim at Trump and Haley after Trump appear to confuse the former South Carolina governor with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. On the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Biden said he doesn’t agree with Haley on everything, but ” agree with Nikki Haley on everything, but “we agree on this much: She is not Nancy Pelosi.” The post includes video of Trump’s rambling discourse on the subject.
Nikki Haley isn’t entertaining the idea of a third party presidential run — yet. “I am a Republican, through and through, that is what I’m running for,” she said Sunday.The nonpartisan group No Labels said earlier this week that it would consider Haley to be part of a potential unity presidential ticket in the general election. But Haley brushed off the option.
“I’m not interested in No Labels,” she said. “That’s not the goal. The goal is to go and get the Republican Party to understand that we need to be the party of addition, where you bring people in, you don’t push people out.”
Climate protesters crash second Haley rally in two days
A group of climate change protesters interrupted Haley’s rally Thursday in Derry, chiding her for connections to the oil and gas industry. It’s the second time activists disrupted a Haley event this week, after a similar group was thrown out of the former South Carolina governor’s Nashua rally Saturday night. Both times Haley urged her supporters not to boo, telling them she was “grateful for protesters like that because that’s what my husband and military men and women sacrifice for us every day.”
As police escorted one of the Derry activists out, Haley said: “If we were in Russia, he wouldn’t live much longer … God bless America, that’s for sure.”
The New Hampshire Union Leader endorsed Haley on Sunday, calling the former South Carolina governor “easily the most qualified candidate on either ballot.”
“We urge you to select Nikki Haley as your next president,” the paper’s editorial board wrote. “New Hampshire is ready for a change. America is ready for a change. The world is ready for a change. We want a better option than we have had for the past eight years, and Nikki Haley is that option.”
The past two Republican presidential candidates who received the paper’s support lost the primary. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich lost to Mitt Romney in 2012 and then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie lost to Trump in 2016. Recent polling shows Trump with a double-digit lead in the race.
Haley used a Sunday show appearance to downplay a new Trump campaign tactic that promotes South Carolina lawmakers who endorse him and oppose their state’s former governor. Haley told CBS’ “Face The Nation” that some politicians in South Carolina oppose her because she would not do their bidding when she was in the statehouse.
“I’ve never really taken care of elected officials,” Haley said. “I’m going to take care of the taxpayers.”
At his rallies in New Hampshire, Trump has introduced visiting South Carolina lawmakers who speak out against Haley, a twice-elected governor. Trump is likely to continue this tactic in the upcoming South Carolina campaign ahead of that state’s primary on Feb. 24.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who has endorsed Haley for president, said a strong second-place finish would be a win for her campaign. Sununu had previously predicted Haley would win New Hampshire in a landslide but has since lowered expectations. Sununu, speaking on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” said Haley is seeking to build on momentum in New Hampshire ahead of the South Carolina primary next month.
“She’s challenging (Trump) here,” Sununu said. “And now she, again, gets to go to her home state, where she’s won a lot before. She knows how to do it on the ground, and people don’t realize the South Carolina isn’t next week … Nikki is going to have a lot of time to build on the momentum she’s already created.
Haley kicked off a full-day of retail politics Sunday with a stop at MaryAnn’s Diner in Derry.The former South Carolina governor made small talk with breakfast goers as part of her final push before the primary to convince voters that she is a better choice than race front-runner Trump. Not everyone she spoke to was convinced, though.
Aaron Mizen, a Derry resident who is still undecided, was finishing the last home fries on his plate when Haley sat down with him. While the pair’s short conversation about southern barbecue reminded Mizen that Haley is “a real person,” it didn’t sway how he’s thinking about the election.He’s still planning to vote based on electability − and is still leaning toward supporting Trump.
“I’m looking at long term projections on the candidates,” he said. “I do support Trump, but I’m being realistic and looking at who is going to be the stand-up candidate at the end.”
Trump did not go on any of the Sunday shows − his newest Republican supporters did. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, both former presidential candidates who endorsed Trump in the past week, predicted that most Republicans will wind up supporting the former president − despite his legal problems and attacks on vast swaths of the GOP.
Scott, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” claimed that when he talked about “grievance” and “victimhood” on the campaign trail, he was referring to Biden, not Trump. “I am talking about the future of this nation … and politicians who get in the way of that,” Scott said.
Burgum, on ABC’s “This Week,” dismissed Trump-led attacks on Haley’s Indian heritage, including the mangling of her given name and raising “birther” questions about whether she is eligible for the presidency; Haley is eligible, having been born in the United States. Burgum cited Democratic attacks on Trump, and said “this is all in the norm … for politics in our country.”
Trump has used his presidential campaign to bash accuser E. Jean Carroll. Now Carroll’s lawyers plan to use his recent campaign rhetoric against him in a federal defamation trial. Carroll’s attorneys filed a motion over the weekend saying they plan to show the jury some of Trump’s latest statements, claiming he is lying about a sexual attack on the well-known writer during the 1990s. The motion cites Trump comments to reporters just last week in which he “repeated his defamatory statements about Ms. Carroll.”
The former president attended the trial last week and may testify in court on Monday. Trump told reporters after one of the sessions that he “never knew” Carroll, that the trial is “a totally rigged deal” that amounts to “election interference” and that Carroll has presented “a made-up, fabricated story.”
Last year, a state jury in New York found Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation and awarded Carroll a judgement of $5 million.
Haley on Saturday took aim at Trump after he appeared to confuse her with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., when discussing the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack at his rally Friday night in Concord, New Hampshire. Trump had repeatedly claimed − falsely − that then-House Speaker Pelosi rejected his request of having 10,000 National Guard troops be deployed before Jan. 6, 2021.
“Nikki Haley, you know they, do you know they destroyed all of the information, all of the evidence, everything, deleted and destroyed all of it. All of it because of lots of things like Nikki Haley is in charge of security. We offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guard, whatever they want. They turned it down. They don’t want to talk about that. These are very dishonest people,” Trump said.
Haley hit back at during a campaign stop in New Hampshire on Saturday.
“He was on a temper tantrum about me, which is fine. he does that often. But he went on and talked about how I kept the police from going into the Capitol on Jan. 6, went on and repeated that I didn’t do anything to secure the Capitol,” Haley said. “Let’s be clear. I wasn’t in the Capitol on Jan. 6. I wasn’t in office on January 6th. He mentioned it three times. He got confused.”
− Sudiksha Kochi
Trump used a Saturday rally in Manchester to again deliver a warning to Republicans: If he wins big in New Hampshire, he will put pressure on GOP rivals to drop out.
“We have to come together,” Trump told supporters at a chilly hockey arena. Left unsaid: A victory or a close second by Haley will create a tougher race. “We have to win by a lot,” Trump said at one point, a statement he would later repeat. “We need to come together.”
Contributing: Francesca Chambers