Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

How Nikki Haley’s 2024 campaign against Trump echoes her drive to stop him in 2016

By 37ci3 Feb23,2024

As Nikki Haley storms South Carolina to prevent Donald Trump from becoming the Republican presidential nominee, she’s retracing some of the steps she took eight years ago and using much of the same language.

At this time in 2016, the then-governor of South Carolina was also on the presidential campaign trail, but on behalf of Senator Marco Rubio, whom he endorsed three days before the South Carolina primary.

While much has changed in politics and the Republican Party since then, a look back at his speeches introducing Rubio shows how similar his argument against Trump is now as it was before he became the GOP re-designator.

Nikki Haley and Marco Rubio, Chapin, SC
Nikki Haley and Marco Rubio, Chapin, SC, February 17, 2016.Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images file

Haley was in a similar position, but took a detour to get there. A few weeks after his election, he accepted the position of ambassador to the United Nations in Trump’s Cabinet, serving for two years after resigning as governor. He continued to boost his 2020 re-election bid.

But in two campaigns on either side of 2020, Haley argued Trump’s losing streak poses a general election risk for the GOP. It’s a topic he’s hit hard on lately, saying emphatically that “Donald Trump can’t win.”

“He lost in 2018. He lost in 2020. He lost in 2022 and he continues to lose,” Haley said earlier this month in Bluffton, South Carolina. “How many more times do we have to lose before we start saying maybe he’s the problem?”

Eight years ago, Haley made a similar claim — but Trump didn’t have a campaign record to go on at that point, so she based it on Trump’s business ventures.

“We’ve seen it with Trump’s vodka, we’ve seen it with Trump’s mortgage, we’ve seen it with all of Trump’s efforts. And right now he’s being sued for fraud with Trump University,” Haley said at a Rubio rally in Atlanta on February 29, 2016, between the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday. “Every single one of them failed. Now he wants to run for the presidency. This is not a game. We are not a project.”

In her current campaign, Haley has recently begun tying Trump to President Joe Biden on issues such as age, mental acuity and the fact that both are “tied up in investigations.”

“They’re both under investigation and all they’re doing is talking about themselves,” he said of Trump and Biden in Charleston on Feb. 7.

At a rally in Atlanta eight years ago, Haley also mentioned investigations into Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“We have two presidential candidates under investigation,” Haley said. “Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.”

Earlier at a rally for Rubio in Atlanta, he used the word “bully” to describe Donald Trump, saying, “I told my two little kids to do what Marco Rubio did in the last debate – when a bully hits you, you hit him. bully from behind.”

In a recent interview with NBC’s TODAY, Haley did the same for her now-adult children, telling host Craig Melvin, “You resort to violence because you don’t want your kids to grow up in a country that is so divided. .”

He told a similar story earlier this week in a “state of the race” speech in Greenville, South Carolina, where he announced his intention to stay in the race and said he had “never met a bully that I couldn’t handle.”

“I am in this fight. I will take bruises. I’ll take the cut,” Haley said Tuesday, later adding, “I’m just asking you to stay with me and go through this with me.”

It’s the same claim Haley made during her endorsement speech for Rubio three days before the 2016 South Carolina primary.

“This is one of the many bruises I’m going to take for Marco Rubio,” he told the crowd in Chapin, South Carolina. “So if I’m going to do this, I need you all to come out on Saturday.”

Trump won the 2016 South Carolina primary later that week, beating Rubio by 10 points and cementing his lead.

Other echoes of 2016 permeate this year’s South Carolina campaign. Standing on stage with Rubio’s South Carolina colleagues on primary night in 2016, Haley made a quick call: “When you see [Rep.] Trey Gowdy, when you see [Sen.] Tim Scott, when you see me, we, along with many people, are the beginning of a new conservative movement that will change this country for the better.

Nearly eight years later, Scott is now former Rep. Gowdy announced on his Fox News show that his 2024 presidential bid is over. In January, Scott endorsed Trump over Haley, who nominated him for the Senate seat.

A few days ago, Rubio also supported Trump.

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By 37ci3

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