Former President Donald Trump, a 2024 candidate for the White House, recently made accommodating, understanding, and gracious comments about the anticipated run for president of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served in his cabinet as Ambassador to the United Nations.
Trump also, along with those comments, lightly suggested a Haley presidential campaign would be an exercise in disloyalty to him.
Speaking with reporters while aboard his plane on Jan. 28, Trump said, “Nikki Haley called me the other day to talk with me—I talked with her for a while. But I said, ‘Look, go by your heart if you want to run.’
“She’s publicly said, ‘I would never run against my president; he was a great president.’”
As a guest on the Hugh Hewitt Show three days later, Trump shared a similar message, saying Haley called and asked him about her running.
“I told her she should follow her heart. You know, she said numerous times, I put it up, actually, ‘that I would never run if our president runs,’” Trump told Hewitt.
“‘He was a great president,’ et cetera, et cetera. She said that numerous times. But she’s a very ambitious person. She just couldn’t stay in her seat. And I said, you know what? Nikki, if you want to run, you go ahead and run.”
On Feb. 14, Haley made it official with her announcement in an online video about three minutes and 30 seconds long that she is a candidate for president.
She is the first announced opponent of Trump in the 2024 Republican primaries.
And Haley is now in what many may call an unenviable position of being the only official candidate on whom Trump and his camp can direct their attacks.
Quickly out of the gate going after Haley was the pro-Trump Super PAC MAGA Inc.
“Nikki Haley is just another career politician,” Taylor Budowich, an executive with MAGA and a former spokesperson for Trump, wrote in a statement.
“She started out as a Never Trumper before resigning to serve in the Trump admin. She then resigned early to go rake in money on corporate boards,” he wrote.
Budowich added, “Now, she’s telling us she represents a ‘new generation.’ Sure just looks like more of the same, a career politician whose only fulfilled commitment is to herself.”
A newly published Reuters/Ipsos 2024 Republican primary poll shows Trump firmly in the lead at 42.8 percent, Ron DeSantis at 30.5 percent, Mike Pence (7.5 percent), and Nikki Haley with 3.9 percent. Liz Cheney holds the fifth position with (1.9 percent).