Feb 18, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Nikki Haley's unwanted fan: How Biden uses her against Trump

Nikki Haley at San Antonio rally

Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign rally Friday at the Viva Villa restaurant in San Antonio. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Nikki Haley's long shot campaign has a persistent problem: Each time she criticizes former President Trump, the Biden campaign promotes the hell out of it.

Why it matters: The Biden campaign has moved from focusing on attacking Haley to using the GOP primary candidate's words against Trump.

  • "I'm running against him because I don't think he should be president," Haley told Jonathan Karl on ABC's "This Week."
  • "The last thing on my mind is who I'm going to support. The only thing on my mind is how we're going to win this."
  • The Biden campaign blasted out the Haley interview, focusing on her comments about Trump's "bone-chilling" remarks about Russian President Vladimir Putin and NATO.

On X, Biden's team has also clipped the following Haley segments:

  • Trump's lack of military service, Trump's losing elections, Trump's siding with Putin and Trump's confusing Haley for then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Jan 6.

On Truth Social, Haley is an even more prominent fixture. Clips posted by Biden include Haley's comments on:

Zoom out: Haley consistently polls better than Trump against Biden, according to the RealClearPolitics average.

  • But Trump has easily won primaries so far and is polling by an average of more than 30 percentage points ahead of Haley in South Carolina, where she was governor until 2017.

The bottom line: "Democrats want nothing more than for Donald Trump to be the nominee because they know they will beat him in November," Haley campaign spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas told Axios.

  • "It's not a coincidence that she's their best surrogate," Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung told Axios in a statement.
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