WASHINGTON: Nikki Haley may be breaking from Donald Trump. Indications that the Indian-American Republican, a former governor of South Carolina, is dumping Trump to train sights on her own 2024 White House run jolted the political circuit on Friday even as Trump’s legal team began their defense of the former President in the Senate impeachment trial.
In a lengthy Politico cover profile that examined her political career and future prospects, Haley was quoted as saying, with reference to Trump’s effort to incite a mob and subvert the 2020 election result: “We need to acknowledge he let us down. He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”
The remarks came at a critical time in the Senate impeachment trial that has seen 44 of the 50 Republican Senators stand solidly behind Trump. While six GOP Senators have voted for the constitutional validity of the trial and may follow that up to vote to convict him, it will require a further 11 Republican lawmakers to reach the two-thirds majority (67/100) for the Senate to convict Trump. There is now intense attention on whether Haley’s censure will persuade Senators to ditch Trump or loosen his hold on the party lawmakers, many of whom are backing him only out of fear that he will have them defeated in any future election.
Haley has been mildly critical of Trump- who she calls a “friend”- for his actions since he lost the election, telling Republican National Committee members after the storming of the Capitol that he was “badly wrong with his words,” at his January 6 rally that incited the mob. “And it wasn’t just his words. His actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history,” she had said.
She ramped up those remarks in the Politico interview, saying, “When I tell you I’m angry, it’s an understatement. I am so disappointed in the fact that [despite] the loyalty and friendship he had with Mike Pence, that he would do that to him. Like, I’m disgusted by it.”
Haley’s presumed rupture with Trump was received with scepticism in political circles with derisive remarks about her opportunism in laying the ground for a 2024 run. Politico writer Tim Alberta himself wrote that since last fall, he had spent nearly six hours talking with Haley on-the-record and also spoken with nearly 70 people who know her: friends, associates, donors, staffers, former colleagues.
“From those conversations, two things are clear. First, Nikki Haley is going to run for president in 2024. Second, she doesn’t know which Nikki Haley will be on the ballot,” he noted, asking, “Will it be the Haley who has proven so adaptive and so canny that she might accommodate herself to the dark realities of a Trump-dominated party? Will it be the Haley who is combative and confrontational and had a history of giving no quarter to xenophobes? Or will it be the Haley who refuses to choose between these characters, believing she can be everything to everyone?”
In the immediate context though, it remains to be seen if Haley’s dumping on Trump will persuade up to 11 Senators to abandon him. In the long run, there is also the remarkable prospect of two Indian-American women- Kamala Harris and Nikki Haley- vying for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party and Republican Party respectively.
“평생 사상가. 웹 광신자. 좀비 중독자. 커뮤니케이터. 창조자. 프리랜서 여행 애호가.”