April 23, 2024

Nikki Haley must have realized that both GOP presidential primary opponent and former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden got a lot of media attention on Thursday with their dueling visits to the U.S.-Mexico border. 


President Donald Trump, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Speak on Border Crisis at Eagle Pass, Texas

Biden Visits the Border Patrol in Brownsville, and His Confusion Goes Into Overdrive

The former South Carolina governor also lost another Republican primary contest against Trump this week, in swing state Michigan. As my colleague Mike Miller wrote, Haley was asked in a CNN interview Tuesday, while Michigan voters were still taking to the polls, whether it’s “possible the party has moved, and the party is about Donald Trump and not what you’re describing, which might be the party of yesterday?”

Surprisingly, Haley was candid in her answer: “It is very possible.” But she then pivoted.

What I am saying to my Republican Party family is, we are in a ship with a hole in it, and we can either go down with the ship and watch the country go socialist left, or we can see that we need to take the life raft and move in a new direction.

Nevertheless, Haley told Bash she’s remaining in the race and plans to travel to more than half a dozen states over the next week[.]

READ MORE: Nikki Haley’s Light Bulb Finally Comes On — Sorta: ‘It Is Very Possible’ That the GOP Is Trump’s Party

So, on Friday, she sat down with a group of hand-picked reporters for an hour-long interview. One quote that immediately jumped out at me was this weird answer about her campaign donors and their expectations:

Asked by NBC News what the money she’s raising is for — especially when her private pitch doesn’t make assurances past Super Tuesday — Haley pushed back against the premise of the question.

“They don’t ask me, ‘What’s your strategy?’ They don’t ask me, ‘What’s your plan?’” Haley said. “All they say is, ‘Thank you for giving me hope. … What they do say is, ‘Keep fighting.’”

Here’s how that reads: They don’t have expectations of her winning, and that she’s a protest vote for people who don’t like Trump. In the interview, Haley also pushed aside the possibility that she might consider signing on as the No Labels candidate:

I’m a Republican. If I were to do No Labels, that would require a Democrat. I can’t do what I wanted to express with the Democrats.

But it was her interview with NBC News’ “Meet The Press” host Kristen Welker that will truly leave conservatives scratching their heads.

I don’t have to tell you that this is the exact soundbite NBC wanted out of the interview. How have Republicans not learned the lesson about appearing on legacy media? They aren’t your friends. They’re not going to do one thing to forward your policies or your campaign–in fact, they’ll probably work to harm it. We see a perfect example here of why these programs book Republicans over and over again: to extract anything that they think will make another Republican look bad.

Trump answered the question in January, and the media are either willfully ignoring that fact or don’t care that he made a clarification.

READ: Trump Changes Course, Now Says He Will Not Seek ‘Retribution’ As President

Now, I won’t speculate on the reason Haley’s campaign left her unprepared for a question like this. But as has been proven numerous times, Republicans should know better by now.