Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s campaign manager told GOP donors Tuesday that her primary fight against former President Donald Trump is a fight for the future of the Republican Party and the country.
“This is a fight for freedom,” campaign manager Betsy Ankney said during a briefing with the American Opportunity Alliance, a consortium of GOP megadonors, according to a source familiar with the Haley campaign’s presentation.
Ankney also warned that a Trump nomination could cost the GOP not only control of the White House, but also control of Congress.
Determining the stakes in her battle against Trump, who won the party’s first two presidential contests in Iowa and New Hampshire and shows no signs of slowing down, is as tough as any language from the Haley campaign yet.
Trump is set to pick up more delegates next week thanks to Nevada split nomination contests, as he is the only major candidate competing in the state’s caucuses. Haley and Trump will face off later this month in South Carolina, where Trump is the favorite despite Haley’s experience in her home state.
The Haley campaign’s appeal to this group of donors comes as she looks to raise resources for a long state-by-state battle against Trump. It takes a lot of cash to spread resources around the country, and Haley spent part of this week in New York at a fundraising event.
Despite Trump’s power within the party, Haley and her allies have stressed that they will have the resources to take on Trump. Former governor of South Carolina tannounced recent fundraising increases After the New Hampshire primary. SFA Fund Inc., the main super PAC backing Haley, announced it has raised $50 million in the last six months of 2023. And this month it was backed by billionaire Ken Griffin He gave the group $5 million, according to CNBC.
American Opportunity Alliance, which includes some the biggest names In the republic donor world, I heard from the campaigns of Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis late last year. Trump campaign co-chair Susie Wiles also met with the donor group on Tuesday, according to the Washington Post. The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ankney warned Republican donors that a Trump nomination could further weaken the ticket for Republicans, pointing to heavy GOP losses in each of the last three national elections since Trump took office in 2017. At the top of the ticket, he noted, is President Joe Biden, who represents the districts won by 18 Republicans in 2020.
Ankney also noted that the party’s gains in the Senate in 2024 are key because Republicans are less favorable to Senate maps in 2026 and 2028.
Ankney’s message also echoed some of Haley’s recent criticisms of the former president On the campaign trail, arguing that Trump is an agent of chaos.
Ankney noted that Trump spent a week in New Hampshire after initially targeting Haley, telling donors that the former president “threw the kitchen sink on us.” Haley struck a similar tone on the campaign trail as she criticized Trump’s “zealousness.”
Those early results prompted many powerful Republicans to declare the nomination race over and declare Trump the winner.
Chairman of the Republican National Committee Ronna McDaniel Last week on Fox News, he said he didn’t see “a path forward” for Haley and sent a message to voters that “We need to unite around our last candidate, which will be Donald Trump.”
Both the GOP Senate and House campaign chairmen have called Trump the party’s “presumptive nominee” for president.
Trump’s campaign, banking on the idea that Trump was inevitable as the party’s nominee, presented Haley’s campaign as a no-brainer.
“Nikki is losing to Donald Trump by every metric used to measure political viability,” top Trump campaign aides said in a memo released Monday. And Trump and his allies urged Republicans to rally around him, saying a protracted nomination battle would only delay the inevitable and cost Republicans time and resources that could be spent defeating Biden.
The Haley campaign, which clearly likes the idea of a one-on-one fight against Trump the answersaid “Why are you so obsessed with us?” commemorating Trump’s election campaign with just an image from the movie “Poor Girls” that expresses the line.
Haley’s campaign defended it he there is a way forward Super Tuesday in March to gather a significant number of delegates in the states holding their races. Several states hold competitions on that day, as well as South Carolina allow independent voters (and in some cases Democrats) to participate in GOP primaries during the February primary.
But this way could prove Narrow if Trump continues to finish ahead of him. The candidate himself told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that he “doesn’t have to win” the South Carolina primary as long as he shows “momentum,” leaving him winless in the first four races of the race.
“I intend to go to Super Tuesday,” Haley said on “Meet the Press” on Sunday. he later added, “We’re going to keep going and see where it takes us.”