Mar 3, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Haley doesn't commit to endorsing Trump, walks back signing RNC pledge

Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley didn't commit Sunday to endorsing former President Donald Trump in the 2024 race if she were to drop out.

Why it matters: Haley, who has vowed to stay in the race at least through Super Tuesday, had previously signed the Republican National Committee's loyalty pledge saying she would back whoever wins the GOP nomination.

  • The pledge was one of the requirements from the RNC for candidates to become eligible to participate in a series of GOP debates before primary season began.
  • Trump, the GOP frontrunner in the race, notably abstained from signing the pledge and did not participate with his fellow candidates in any of the debates.

What she's saying: "I truly am not thinking about any of that," said Haley of a future endorsement on NBC's "Meet the Press" in an interview that aired Sunday.

  • "If you talk about an endorsement, you are talking about a loss," she said. "I don't think like that. When you're in a race you don't think about losing. You think about continuing to go forward. What I can tell you is I don't think Donald Trump or Joe Biden should be president."
  • "Meet the Press" moderator Kristen Welker then brought up the pledge Haley signed, and asked if the former South Carolina governor still felt bound by it to support the GOP nominee.
  • Haley said that at the time of the debate, candidates had to say yes and sign the pledge to get on the stage. That RNC "is now not the same RNC."
  • "I think I'll make what decision I wanna make, but that's not something I'm thinking about," Haley added.

Flashback: Last June, Haley slammed Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — a GOP presidential candidate at the time — for not committing to support the Republican nominee, saying it was "absolutely irresponsible."

Zoom out: The RNC has been in the thick of a leadership shake-up, with its chairwoman Ronna McDaniel set to step down on March 8.

  • McDaniel resigned after a pressure campaign from Trump, who recently issued a trio of endorsements for his allies.
  • Trump's daughter-in-law Lara Trump and his campaign senior adviser Chris LaCivita, are among the three people the former president endorsed for leadership roles in the RNC.

Go deeper: Nikki Haley: "Very possible" GOP has shifted towards Trump

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