Former U.S. president Donald Trump reminded Republican primary voters this week there is no love lost between him and his former ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley.
In an interview addressing the upcoming 2024 presidential campaign with Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, Trump mocked Haley for her ongoing vacillation when it comes to him and the political movement he founded.
“Well, every time she criticizes me, she uncriticizes me about fifteen minutes later,” Trump told Sherman. “I guess she gets the base.”
Here, though, Sherman decided to throw Haley a bone … evidence of the extent to which the mainstream media will always do its best to keep middling politicians like her as relevant as possible.
“Surprisingly, Haley’s comments didn’t exile her completely from Trumpworld,” Sherman noted, referencing her ongoing relationship with ex-White House luminaries Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
While it is true Haley has remained tight with Trump’s elder daughter and her husband (and one other former Trump official), the fact remains she has done incalculable damage to her brand among his rank-and-file supporters. And obviously the former president is done with her.
To recap: In the aftermath of the bloody rioting at the U.S. capitol on January 6, 2021, Haley and other GOP politicians blasted Trump for his alleged role in inciting the violence. But none went as far in rebuking Trump – and writing him off politically – as the former South Carolina governor.
“I think he’s lost any sort of political viability he was going to have,” Haley said at the time, seeking to establish herself as a new standard-bearer for the party. “I don’t think he’s going to be in the picture. I don’t think he can. He’s fallen so far.”
“He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him,” Haley added. “And we can’t let that ever happen again.”
To say those quotes have not aged well – among broad swaths of the GOP electorate, anyway – is a colossal understatement. Which underscores Haley’s colossal miscalculation.
“Haley bet on Republican voters abandoning Trump – but instead they abandoned her,” I noted in a post last month which took note of Haley’s latest hypocrisy.
Actually, many conservatives had abandoned Haley long before she turned on Trump … and for that matter so had many of her erstwhile centrist cheerleaders.
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As I have often noted, the chronic hypocrisy and aversion to the truth Haley has displayed in recent years on the national stage is nothing new to South Carolinians … which is one of many reasons why the former governor would struggle to win over “First in the South” presidential primary voters in 2024.
Of course, if Trump decides to run for president in 2024 … no one is going to take the GOP nomination from him.
“It’s a metaphysical impossibility that anybody, even a senator named Jesus H. Christ, could beat Trump in a Republican primary if he runs,” former Trump strategist Michael Caputo told Sherman for the Vanity Fair story.
Which reminds me … that raises another issue for Haley.
The rift between these two politicians is hardly surprising. Haley, 49, only got her appointment to the UN in 2017 because it paved the way for one of Trump’s few establishment backers in South Carolina – Henry McMaster – to ascend to the governor’s office.
Haley, readers will recall, was a staunch #NeverTrumper during the 2016 presidential campaign, telling CNN he was “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president.”
When it comes to Haley’s hypocrisy, prominent South Carolina Democrats have found themselves in rare alignment with Trump.
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(Via: Getty Images)
Among those brave enough to say so publicly? Amanda Loveday, a former S.C. Democratic party (SCDP) executive director and ex-communications boss for majority whip Jim Clyburn.
“Can’t believe I’m saying this but he ain’t wrong,” Loveday tweeted, referring to Trump’s remarks on Haley.
Lachlan McIntosh, a veteran Democratic strategist, concurred.
“For once, he ain’t lying,” McIntosh tweeted.
Despite her dramatic fall from grace within the GOP, I have declined to write Haley off as a potential presidential candidate. Given her identity-politik shtick and her access to neoconservative and Jewish cash, she is never going to be completely out of the equation. However, the aura of “inevitability” which once accompanied her ascendancy on the national stage has clearly lost its luster.
The underlying reason for her decline? As I have repeatedly stated, it boils down to the absence of any primum mobile accompanying Haley’s political machinations.
“Haley’s core problem is that she has no guiding principle outside of her own ambition,” I noted in a column earlier this year. “And while that is certainly true of any number of politicians, Haley is absolutely terrible at hiding it.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that 2010 San Francisco Giants’ World Series lid pictured above).
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