Trump Rejects Nikki Haley As VP, She Confirms It’s ‘Off the Table’

Trump Rejects Nikki Haley As VP, She Confirms It’s ‘Off the Table’

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Former President Donald Trump said former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley doesn’t have what it take to do high-level politics and won’t be his running mate.

Former President Donald Trump said Friday that he most likely would not choose former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as his running mate in the 2024 presidential election, claiming she lacks what it takes to do the job.

“She is not presidential timber,” the former president said at a rally in Concord, New Hampshire, on Jan. 19. “Now, when I say that, that probably means that she’s not going to be chosen as the vice president.”

Ms. Haley has emerged as the former president’s most formidable foe in the primaries, polling in second place and toughening her rhetoric against President Trump—though avoiding overt attacks.

“I don’t think he needs to be the next president. I’m going to be the next president,” Ms. Haley told CBS News on Jan. 16, after placing third in the Iowa caucuses while pledging she’s “just getting started.”

“We want to move forward so he’s no longer a part of the conversation,” Ms. Haley said of the former president, who crushed his competition in the Iowa caucuses by roughly 30 percentage points.

There was little mincing of words on the part of the former president in New Hampshire on Friday, however, as he challenged the notion that Ms. Haley has the ability to handle high-level politics.

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“She’s not tough enough. She’s not smart enough,” President Trump said of her ability to serve as commander-in-chief. “She cannot do this job.”

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald J. Trump speaks during a campaign event in Concord, N.H., on Jan. 19, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald J. Trump speaks during a campaign event in Concord, N.H., on Jan. 19, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

As for Ms. Haley having the mettle to be an effective No. 2, the former president was similarly dismissive.

“I can’t say she’s not of the timber to be a vice and then say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to announce—’ Do you understand? But that’s the way it is. Tell it like it is,” President Trump said.

The former president made the remarks while flanked at the rally by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who has been rumored to be one of the favorites to appear alongside the former president on the Republican ticket.

‘Off The Table’

Following President Trump’s commanding win in Iowa, speculation has been building about a potential Trump running mate, with his son, Donald Trump Jr., expressing support for several potential candidates while voicing sharp opposition to one—Ms. Haley.

“I would do whatever I could to make sure it wasn’t Nikki Haley,” the president’s eldest son said in an interview on Newsmax, saying he thinks she’s being funded by Democrats to undermine the Trump campaign.

“I probably see that as part of that sort of globalist Democrat, RINO tactic of dragging this out to make it harder for Trump to win a general,” Mr. Trump Jr. said.

Donald Trump Jr. speaks as he leaves the courtroom after testifying in his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York, on Nov. 13, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Donald Trump Jr. speaks as he leaves the courtroom after testifying in his civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York, on Nov. 13, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

A similar view was recently expressed by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who said he believes that if Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (who’s currently polling third) drops out after losing several GOP primary contests, then Democrats will pour money into Ms. Haley’s campaign to prevent a Trump victory.

“And at that point, liberal donors swing as a block behind Nikki Haley, giving her bottomless resources—that’s already happening right now,” Mr. Carlson said on his show.

For her part, Ms. Haley has repeatedly hinted that she wouldn’t be interested in serving as President Trump’s No. 2—and on Friday, she made her most explicit rejection of that prospect.

“I don’t want to be anybody’s vice president. That is off the table,” Ms. Haley told voters at a diner stop in Amherst, New Hampshire, on Jan. 19, Politico and the Washington Post reported.

“I have always said that. That is a game they play that I’m not going to play. I don’t want to be vice president,” Ms. Haley added, according to the Post.

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks with supporters in Ames, Iowa, on Jan. 14, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks with supporters in Ames, Iowa, on Jan. 14, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Opposition to Ms. Haley as vice president has been building in Trump-allied circles.

Tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who dropped out after the Iowa caucuses and endorsed President Trump, shared a clip of Mr. Carlson laying out his thoughts about Democrat support for Ms. Haley to hamstring President Trump.

“I’ve done my part & dropped out before New Hampshire so that Trump can win by a decisive margin and end this GOP primary,” Mr. Ramaswamy said in a post on X.

“That’s the only right answer, or else things could go very badly from there.”

In a notable move, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) endorsed President Trump at the New Hampshire rally Friday instead of Ms. Haley, a fellow South Carolinian.

Prior to the endorsement, Ms. Haley addressed rumors that Mr. Scott would throw his weight behind the former president.

“Interesting that Trump’s lining up with all the Washington insiders when he claimed he wanted to drain the swamp,” she said, per NBC News.

‘People Are Talking About Trump VP Picks’

The prospect that the identity of the next vice president will be President Trump’s choice to make seems increasingly likely following his commanding victory in the Iowa caucuses.

“People are talking about Trump VP picks because they recognize the primary is over and has been for quite some time,” Jason Meister, a New York-based adviser to the former president, told The Epoch Times in a recent interview. “Trump is polling stronger than he did in 2016 and 2020. He’s surging with blacks, independents, and younger Americans.”
With 66.1 percent support, President Trump now maintains a 54.6-point lead over Ms. Haley, who’s polling at 11.5 percent, followed by Mr. DeSantis with 10.5 percent support, according to the latest RealClear polling average.

A number of names have been floated as a possible Trump running mate, with the former president saying recently he’s already made up his mind but is keeping the identity under wraps—for now.

Aside from Ms. Stefanik, other names that have been floated include former Trump White House press secretary and current Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

Mr. Ramaswamy has also been suggested as a possible running mate, as has Mr. Carlson. So, too, have Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) and Ben Carson, who served as President Trump’s housing secretary, been tipped as potential picks.

Experts say an optimal VP pick wouldn’t upstage the top of the ticket, so it should be someone who isn’t too charismatic and is content to play second fiddle.

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