Feb 1, 2024 - Politics & Policy

"He's just toxic": How Nikki Haley has unleashed on Trump since New Hampshire

Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and 2024 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event in North Charleston, South Carolina, US, on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024

Nikki Haley during a campaign event in North Charleston, S.C., on Jan. 24. Photo: Sam Wolfe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nikki Haley's stretch of avoiding direct attacks against former President Trump ended in spectacular fashion in January, with another month of attacks all but guaranteed ahead of South Carolina's Feb. 24 primary.

Why it matters: Haley is the lone survivor of the GOP primary taking on Trump. Facing a massive gap in the polls, the former UN ambassador can no longer afford to tiptoe around Trump's vulnerabilities.

  • The feud between the two candidates took a more personal turn after the Iowa caucuses and in the run-up to New Hampshire.
  • Trump lashed out at Haley following his New Hampshire victory, calling her an "imposter" and urging her to drop out of the race.

Timeline

Jan. 24: "We got out there, we did our thing and we said what we had to say, and then Donald Trump got out there and just threw a temper tantrum," Haley said in South Carolina after the New Hampshire primary.

  • "He pitched a fit. He was insulting. He was doing what he does, but I know that's what he does when he's insecure."
  • "I know that's what he does when he is threatened, and he should feel threatened, without a doubt."

Jan. 26: Haley called Trump "totally unhinged."

  • "Let's look at the last 48 hours," Haley said. "He throws an absolute temper tantrum, talking about revenge."
  • "Then he goes and says that he's going to ban anyone from MAGA that donates to me."

Jan. 28: "The last thing he needs to do is tell them to wait to pass a border deal until the election," Haley said on NBC's "Meet the Press" of Trump's efforts to kill the Senate's bipartisan border deal.

  • "We can't wait one more day."

Jan. 30: "Another reason Donald Trump won't debate me … His PAC spent 50 MILLION in campaign dollars on his legal fees," Haley wrote on X.

  • "He can't beat Joe Biden if he's spending all his time and money on court cases and chaos."

Jan. 31: Haley said in an interview on "The Breakfast Club" that Trump has made politics "chaotic" and "self-absorbed."

  • Trump "should have moral clarity and know the difference between right or wrong ... and he's just toxic," she said.

What to watch: Haley's campaign this week launched a series, "Grumpy Old Men," hitting Trump, 77, and President Biden, 81, over their mental competency for office.

  • "Sadly, this version of "Grumpy Old Men" offers no comic relief — just chaos, confusion, and a bad sense of deja vu for the American people," Haley spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas said in a press release.

Go deeper: Haley's Hail Mary strategy depends on open primaries

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