Nikki Haley Says Trump Let Republicans Down, But His Support Remains Strong


Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador and South Carolina governor, has become the latest high-profile member of the GOP to publicly criticize former president Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election. Despite cautioning against Trumpian politics in the future, she was clear about the former president’s powerful remaining influence over the party thanks to the passion of his support.

After the election, Trump insisted without evidence that it was being stolen from him. In the months that followed, he worked with a team of lawyers to challenge the election results in courts but struggled for evidence. Meanwhile, Trump loyalists and GOP opportunists lined up behind him. On January 6, Republican lawmakers in Congress had taken up his challenge in a joint session of the House and the Senate when pro-Trump forces — who had taken to the streets in the months priorstormed the Capitol.

Haley, a possible Republican contender for the 2024 presidential election, is featured in a big story from Politico. In part of her interview, she discussed a call she made to her “friend” Trump in late 2020 to check in on him. She said that she didn’t address the baseless claims of election fraud with him and insisted he’s not being “deceptive”

“There’s nothing that you’re ever going to do that’s going to make him feel like he legitimately lost the election,” Haley told Politico. “He’s got a big bully pulpit. He should be responsible with it.”

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At one point, Haley attempted to explain the situation by pointing to a field of green grass, saying, “That would be like you saying that grass is blue and you genuinely believing it. Is it irresponsible that you’re colorblind and you truly believe that?”

“He deserves the truth. Is he hearing the truth?” Haley said. “I don’t think certain people around him are telling him the truth.” At one point, she specifically mentioned his lawyers had done him a “disservice.”

Haley criticized Trump the day after the insurrection, as Politico reported at the time. She’s also been making moves that would suggest she’s prepping for a 2024 run. Trump could hypothetically be barred from running if he’s convicted on an article of impeachment for inciting an insurrection. But if the Senate doesn’t convict him, there’d be nothing stopping Trump from a 2024 campaign. Haley said she doesn’t think that will happen.

“He’s not going to run for federal office again,” Haley told Politico, “I don’t think he’s going to be in the picture. … He’s fallen so far.”

“We need to acknowledge he let us down,” Haley said. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”

Even if Trump himself were never a candidate again, Haley acknowledged that his influence over the party will linger.

“I know how much people love Donald Trump. I know it. I feel it,” she said. “Whether it’s an RNC room or social media or talking to donors, I can tell you that the love they have for him is still very strong. That’s not going to just fall to the wayside.”

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