Trump allies target Nikki Haley in extreme pressure campaign
Why it matters: The question for the donors that rushed to Haley's side over the last several months is whether they think the former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador has a way forward.
- Haley vowed Tuesday to stay in the primary race. She finished third in the Iowa caucuses, and second in the New Hampshire primary.
- She is skipping the Nevada caucus in early February and focused on her home state of South Carolina's Feb. 24 primary.
- But no Republican candidate has won both Iowa and New Hampshire, as Trump has done in 2024, and not gone on to win the nomination.
Driving the news: In the hours after her second-place finish, the chorus of calls for Haley to drop out and unify around Trump grew.
- "I'm looking at the map and the path going forward, and I don't see it for Nikki Haley," RNC chair Ronna McDaniel, who previously said the RNC would stay "neutral," said last night on Fox News.
- An angry Trump, flanked by former GOP presidential rivals, ramped up his calls on Tuesday for Haley to drop out.
Zoom out: At least half a dozen congressional Republicans united around the former president after his projected victory.
- "It's now past time for the Republican Party to unite around President Trump," House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said in a statement.
- House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) called on Haley to "suspend her failing campaign and unite behind President Trump."
- Trump already has a powerful backing of support in South Carolina, where he won endorsements from Gov. Henry McMaster (R) and seven of eight members of the state's Republican congressional delegation.
The bottom line: The Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity, which has invested heavily to back the Haley ground game, indicated on Tuesday that Haley did not need a win in New Hampshire to continue.
- "Aside from her really having a poor showing, we would continue. We are already laying the groundwork not just in South Carolina but in many of those Super Tuesday states," Drew Klein, a senior adviser to AFP Action, told NBC News before the results.
- "We're planning now to move on to South Carolina and continue our efforts in that state and continue moving forward."