Jan 24, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump allies target Nikki Haley in extreme pressure campaign

Republican presidential candidate former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley delivers remarks at her primary night rally at the Grappone Conference Center on January 23, 2024 in Concord, New Hampshire

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley delivers remarks at her primary night rally at the Grappone Conference Center on Jan. 23 in Concord, New Hampshire. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Nikki Haley faces a deep bench of Republican leaders calling for her to drop out, just days after becoming the last survivor in the primary race against former President Trump.

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."

Go deeper: Trump appears with GOP presidential dropouts and bashes Haley after N.H. win

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