MANCHESTER, NH – Hoping to pull off a major upset in New Hampshire, Nikki Haley He spent the final week of his campaign fending off attacks by former President Donald Trump that the former tea party governor was not really a Republican.
At Granite State rallies, Trump repeatedly claimed Haley would be weak on immigration policy, called her a “globalist idiot,” said “she’s like a Democrat,” called her supporters “pro-Biden” and said he would vote for Haley. It’s to vote for Joe Biden.” He suggested that Haley ask Democrats to vote on his behalf on Tuesday, even though only registered Republicans and undeclared voters can vote in New Hampshire’s GOP primary.
Trump’s attacks have bolstered Haley with a wave of television ads that are weak on immigration and against his agenda., allies also slammed the former South Carolina governor (and Trump’s pick for ambassador to the United Nations). “Nikki Haley betrayed President Trump when it came to defending the integrity of the election,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., in response to a question from NBC News on Friday.
Attacking your opponent as a “Republican in Name Only” or “RINO” has been standard fare in GOP politics for more than a decade, though the tactic has been intensified by Trump. For Haley, she faces the task of fending off attacks from conservative bona fides in a party defined not only by one’s record, but for many GOP voters by the former president and his and her loyalty tests. the allies put forward.
For makes the problem even more difficult HaleyElected governor in 2010 as a Republican who joined the tea party, a large part of his support base is made up of the GOP’s more moderate and anti-Trump voting bloc — to which many members see him as a relative. spirit or a throwback to the pre-MAGA Republican.
But Haley backed off. Asked by NBC News at a campaign event in Amherst on Friday, he asked anyone who claimed not to be a conservative to “name something I’m not conservative about,” citing voter ID efforts, right-wing immigration laws and retirement. advocated reform as governor.
“No man can tell you how I’m not a conservative,” he said, adding: “Show me that I’m a moderate, because I’m not. The difference is who decides who’s a conservative and who’s a moderate.”
“According to what I said?” Haley added. “Am I talking like that?”
Haley and her allies have highlighted her conservative credentials in an advertising blitz. In a recent post on Xsite formerly known as Twitter, he promoted one of these ads.
“I’m a Tea Party governor,” he wrote. “I passed one of the toughest immigration laws in the country. I defended life. I passed voter ID and cut taxes. I was tougher than Trump against China and Russia at the UN. I will put my conservative record against anyone.”
And as he took a harder line with Trump, his own conservative credibility took a hit.
“I passed the voter ID before he knew what a Republican was,” he said Sunday.
Many of the anti-Haley attacks revolved around the question of who he was addressing in the race. NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom survey In Iowa, just before the GOP caucuses, nearly half of Haley’s supporters – 43% – said that they will vote for President Joe Biden over Trump this fall.
in New Hampshire, keeps showing queries Haley to lose He beat Trump by about 40 points with registered Republicans, but by about 10 to 20 points with the state’s significant number of undeclared voters.
Moreover, a number of voters at Haley events said they saw her more as a moderate than a hardline conservative. “I would say she’s probably the more moderate candidate,” Manchester voter John Scanlon, who supported Trump in 2016 and 2020, said after the Haley event in Nashua.
“It’s a funny distinction people make,” he said. “Because the issues are more complicated than moderate and conservative. You have to separate economic trends and national security. Although I would say that it is more moderate, bilaterally more conciliatory.”
Others, meanwhile, couldn’t see him voting for Trump if he faced Biden this fall — a potentially serious liability for Trump in the general election contest, but additional fodder to vilify Haley during the primary.
Haley supporter Donna Dostie of Hooksett said she will write in the former U.N. ambassador this fall if she doesn’t make it through the primary. He said that he supported Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020.
“I think he’s going to get us on the right track,” he said. “We need to get out of the chaos and a lot of things that Trump has brought to our country… Trump makes me angry. He really does. I think he is a dangerous man.”
Trump supporters who spoke for this article weren’t too concerned about whether Haley fits more neatly as a moderate or a conservative. It’s just that they didn’t think Trump’s candidacy was particularly important because he was leading by double digits here and across the country.
Maria Martins, a Trump supporter from Manchester, called Haley a “complete absence.”
“He’s a non-entity, he’s not Nikki Haley, and his policies and what he stands for are not what people do in New Hampshire, the state of Life Free or Death.” Absolutely.”
Haley’s campaign took particular issue with the idea that the agenda she advocated was not conservative enough. Allies, including New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, recently received Trump endorsements from sitting senators, a sign that Haley, not Haley, is in the running. “Nikki has always been a tough, anti-establishment conservative,” Haley spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said.
“As governor, he signed pro-life legislation, cracked down on illegal immigration and took on both sides of the aisle on spending and transparency,” Perez-Cubas said. “As an ambassador, he was tough on our enemies and always supported our allies. This is Nikki you see running for president.”
Former New Hampshire state representative Kim Rice, a Haley supporter, said Trump’s wave of attacks was just a sign that her candidacy was in danger.
“He’s definitely conservative,” Rice said. “He was the governor of the tea party. These people kill me with the words “he’s a democrat”. I think it’s desperation.”
Rep. Chris Wooten of South Carolina, a Haley supporter, said her more moderate support base is not a sign that she has compromised her ideals.
“Nicki was literally an outsider until it was cool,” he said. “Yes, he appeals to moderate voters because people are tired of the same ole Trump.”
“And for the record,” added Wooten. “All the hard-right conservatives who are angry about the same ‘corrupt politicians’ staying in office want Trump?” I just think it’s a strange story.”