Updated May 11, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Update: Trump nixes Haley for VP

NIkki Haley, wearing a blue blouse, speaks to a crowd with a microphone.

Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign rally in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 4. Photo by Emil Lippe/Getty Images

Well, that was fast. A day after sources told Axios that Nikki Haley was under active consideration by Donald Trump's campaign to be his running mate, he stepped in and nixed the idea.

  • "Nikki Haley is not under consideration for the V.P. slot, but I wish her well!" Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.
  • He signed it "DJT," making clear it was a personal message.

Why it matters: The GOP rivals' relationship remains chilly. But the sources said Trump could pick Haley if he were convinced she'd help him win the presidency, avoid a potential prison sentence and cover tens of millions in legal bills if he loses.

Spokespeople for Trump and Haley declined to comment on Friday when asked about the possibility.

Zoom in: Republicans close to both campaigns believe it's in Haley and Trump's mutual interests to reconcile, despite their bitter fight in the GOP primary and their divergent views on some big issues.

  • Trump is scrambling to make up a fundraising disadvantage against President Biden and pay legal fees. Haley, meanwhile, has deep ties to donors who are wary of the former president.
  • A reconciliation with Haley, his former UN ambassador, also could help Trump cut attract some of the college-educated Republicans who have kept voting for her in primaries even after she dropped out.
  • In Indiana's primary on Tuesday, Haley got more than 20% of the vote in a contest that also allowed Democrats and independents to cast ballots in the GOP race.

There could be advantages for Haley as well.

  • She hasn't endorsed Trump, and if she continues to withhold her support and Trump loses in November, significant parts of the GOP's conservative base could blame her.
  • That likely would threaten any future presidential campaign or future in GOP politics for her.

Reality check: Earlier this year, Trump said Haley didn't have "presidential timber" and Haley said Trump was "not qualified" to be president.

  • They also have different views on issues such as the war and changing programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
  • Haley has pushed to send more resources to Ukraine and allow it to become part of NATO; Trump has not.
  • Trump attacked Haley for her proposed reforms such as raising the retirement age for future generations.

Between the lines: Haley is gathering about 100 of her biggest donors in Charleston, S.C., Monday and Tuesday to thank them for supporting her presidential campaign, The Wall Street Journal first reported.

  • She has said the burden is on Trump to reach out to her and her supporters if he wants to unite the GOP.
  • Trump's campaign has dismissed such rhetoric and argued the party already has rallied behind him.
  • After near-daily attacks on Haley during the primary, Trump has been largely quiet about his former U.N. ambassador for several weeks.

There is pressure building among some Republican donors for Haley to make the first move toward unity.

  • But Haley also struggled to reconcile with her other former rivals in the GOP primary and none endorsed her — including former Vice President Mike Pence, who pointedly did not endorse Trump either.

Zoom out: Biden's campaign has run ads trying to appeal to Haley voters who are wary of Trump.

Some people close to Trump are strongly opposed to Haley, given her hawkish record on foreign policy.

  • Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson told a conservative commentator in December that if Trump selects Haley he "would not only not vote for that ticket, I would advocate against it as strongly as I could."
  • Trump's son Don Jr. said in December that he would "go to great lengths to make sure" Haley was not in the ticket.
  • Trump has said he will likely pick his running mate close to the Republican National Convention in July.

Flashback: Republicans such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has ruled out being Trump's running mate, but Haley danced around the question until just before the New Hampshire primary, when she said it was "off the table."

  • That same week, Trump indicated he wouldn't pick Haley but did leave a little wiggle room: "She is OK, but she is not presidential timber. And when I say that, that probably means she is not going to be chosen as the vice president."

Editor's note: This story and headline have been updated with Trump saying Haley isn't under consideration.

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