Republican leaders perceive a distinct opportunity for one of Donald Trump’s earlier primary opponents to rejoin his Republican Party, while his last existing adversary may face expulsion.
A number of Republican members commended Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for his prudent decision to withdraw from the presidential race following his second-place finish to Trump in the Iowa caucuses. Lawmakers stated that his departure and quick backing of Trump indicate a reentry into prominent GOP politics, with the potential of potentially aligning with Trump’s circle.
However, the Republican legislators anticipated a significantly contrasting future for ex South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who served as Trump’s United Nations ambassador when he was president. Haley is the lone remaining primary opponent. She has made the decision to persist with her primary campaign, shifting her focus towards criticizing Trump’s age and psychological health – asserting that she is the only candidate capable of defeating Democrat Joe Biden.
100s of Africans from the Islamic-majority nations of Senegal & Guinea run by my colleague and me after we saw them rush through a cut in the border wall. From my 7 weeks camped in Lukeville. (Didn't have my cam on a tripod cuz we ran after them, a little shaky). #BorderCrisis pic.twitter.com/UXMDMfMd1F
— Just Jeff From Cali (@liberty_clarion) February 12, 2024
Utah GOP Senator Mitt Romney, known for his vocal opposition to Trump inside the party, stated, “I don’t think that’s likely, but it is possible” for Haley to pursue national office as a Republican, although he considers it unlikely. However, he stated that it is highly probable that DeSantis may make another attempt, potentially as early as the 2028 electoral year.
“You may alienate some people who like your opponent. That’s the nature of negative campaign ads and messaging,” Romney explained. “That’s how it works. And you make a calculation to do what you think is going to get you the nomination. That’s how it works.
“There’s so much that happens in politics, you know, that you can’t predict what the factors will be. Let’s say Donald Trump gets elected and he’s highly successful. Why then, that’d be really tough for Haley,” he appended.
10/29. One of the insane scenes I saw on the border in Lukeville. BP occasionally had the illegal aliens march from the tent camp to the port of entry on a backroad when there were too many to transport. CC: @DustinStockton pic.twitter.com/Nf6qJIjTOX
— Just Jeff From Cali (@liberty_clarion) December 18, 2023
“Rep. Nancy Mace, also a South Carolina Republican who is gearing up for her own tough reelection bid, suggested Haley should bow out so Republicans can coalesce around Trump,” Roll Call reported.
“DeSantis has already endorsed Donald Trump, who is the leader of our party and the only man who can save our country. You know, he’s going to be the nominee. He’s gonna win resoundingly,” she said. “He’s crushing it in South Carolina, right? Frankly, he’s crushing it everywhere.
“The sooner that we can unite our party, the sooner we can take on Joe Biden, and that is what’s best for the party,” Mace said. “That’s what’s best for the country. And the sooner folks realize that, the better off we’re going to be.”
Africans from the Islamic nation of Senegal being filed into the Lukeville port of entry after rushing through a cut in the border wall. From my 7 weeks camped in Lukeville filming the crisis. #BetOnBiden for more of this. #BorderCrisis #TrumpRally #Trump2024 pic.twitter.com/PPhXxw9w76
— Just Jeff From Cali (@liberty_clarion) February 11, 2024
Since finishing a distant second to Trump in New Hampshire’s GOP nominating contest, Haley has been arguing her 77-year-old former boss has lost a step — or two – mentally and is too chaos-prone to be the leader of the free world again. She also has been making a more forceful case that she is the lone GOP figure who could defeat Biden.
“Trump goes on and on, multiple times, saying that I prevented the security on Jan. 6 at the Capitol. I wasn’t even anywhere near the Capitol. I wasn’t in office,” Haley told a campaign rally crowd late last month in Derry, N.H., referring to Trump’s gaffe in which he confused Haley with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“The reality is that he was confused. He was confused the same way that Joe Biden was going to start World War II,” she added. “He was confused the same way that he said he ran against President [Barack] Obama.”
From my time on the border near Lukeville, Arizona. The port of entry closed because so many illegal aliens were there. Mostly male illegal aliens from the African countries of Senegal and Guinea which are majority Islamic. Tensions were very high because people tried to cut in… pic.twitter.com/COoB6te6AE
— Just Jeff From Cali (@liberty_clarion) January 19, 2024
Haley has not only incurred the displeasure of Trump friends in Congress, but she has also managed to provoke the ire of certain Republican voters. She experienced a humiliating loss in the recent “Nevada GOP presidential preference primary,” but former president Trump was not a candidate in that election as he was participating in the GOP caucuses in its place.
“Rather, more Nevadans who participated in the primary voted for “none of these candidates” than Haley. And it was not close: “None” received 62 percent, while 32 percent chose the former Palmetto State chief executive. Despite the setback, Haley has vowed to remain in the race,” Roll Call added.
The Nevada episode opened Haley up to criticism from her fellow Republicans, but also Democrats eager to undercut her claims that she would be the stronger candidate to take on Biden in a general election.
“Congrats to Nikki Haley on being the second choice of Nevadans to ‘no one’ and winning a grand total of zero delegates — and our apologies to Donald Trump, who will win the same number of electoral votes in Nevada this November,” Democratic National Committee rapid response director Alex Floyd said in a Wednesday statement.
Such critiques have not deterred Haley from continuing to lament the idea of nominating Trump. She is using his age and mental gaffes as a bludgeon — and doing the same to attack Biden.
Her campaign earlier this month fired off a statement with the subject line “Nikki Haley vs. Two Grumpy Old Men,” a play on the 1993 film “Grumpy Old Men” starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.
“While the country is being submerged into chaos by two grumpy old men, Nikki Haley is the only candidate with the focus, stamina, and energy to make America normal again,” the campaign wrote.
Still, several Republican lawmakers interviewed for this article also caveated their assessments with the never-say-never theory about politics.
“But what happens if Trump is elected then falls on his face?” Romney said. “Gov. Haley might say, ‘See, I told you so,’ and become the nominee next time.”
A Trump ally who also hails from Haley’s home state noted that primary rivals have become allies before.
“They’re both very talented,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said of DeSantis and Haley. “And, you know, the primaries will be over soon and everybody will be together again.”