It’s the weekend, so I guess we can expect things to be a little off-kilter even in the world of presidential politics. But a move Saturday by former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley caught me by surprise. Now, it isn’t so much what she herself is doing on Saturday (Politico reports that she’s stumping across South Carolina on a bus tour of rural communities), but what her campaign has set up in the area surrounding former President Donald Trump’s rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The next contest in the 2024 GOP presidential primaries happens in the Palmetto state, keep in mind, on Feb. 24. I’ll get to Haley’s doings today in a minute.
But let’s back up a little bit to Friday, when Haley commented on the revelations found in Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report on President Joe Biden’s mental faculties, and threw in some shade against Trump, too:
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Haley released a statement on the X platform, in which she said, in part:
Yesterday was a wakeup call for the country. The White House is not a taxpayer-subsidized nursing home. It is clear to most Americans that Biden lacks the mental capacity to effectively serve as president.
She closed her statement by throwing an attack on Trump into the mix:
I have long said the first party to retire its 80-year-old candidate will win the White House. Democrats appear on their way to doing just that. Trump runs about even with the enfeebled Biden; he would get crushed by a Democrat with a pulse.
My statement on Special Counsel Hur’s report on Joe Biden: pic.twitter.com/xQQGfAVYt9
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) February 9, 2024
And as I mentioned, she also took more swings at Trump’s temperament, verbal gaffes, and “mental deficiencies”:
Donald Trump has his own mental deficiencies, is prone to temper tantrums and wild rants, and confuses countries and who was in charge of Capitol security on January 6.
Back to today. Politico first confirmed a troll move by Team Haley, which hired a mobile billboard/video screen, blasting a supercut of both Biden and Trump “trailing off and otherwise appearing confused” while speaking, to circle the Myrtle Beach area, including the city where Trump is holding a rally Saturday:
The Haley campaign on Saturday will parade a mobile billboard around the Myrtle Beach area, including by Trump’s rally in Conway, where the former president will appear for the first time this year in the state ahead of South Carolina’s Feb. 24 GOP presidential primary.
Haley’s latest trolling attempt, first confirmed to POLITICO, involves the campaign playing a video featuring clips of Trump and President Joe Biden trailing off and otherwise appearing confused during recent public remarks.
It appears that Haley is making a last-ditch effort in her home state, though she’s still trailing Trump badly. In the county where Trump is speaking, he’s exceedingly popular, based on how he did there in 2016’s primary contest:
Horry County, the site of Saturday’s Trump rally, is a conservative stronghold where Trump won nearly half the vote in a still-crowded 2016 presidential primary — and some of the least fertile ground for Haley in this month’s contest. Her campaign’s decision to send a roving billboard truck into the heart of MAGA country underscores Haley’s brash approach of rebuking Trump now that the race is a head-to-head match — and as she remains far behind.
That’s an understatement. The most recent polling average by Real Clear Politics (1/2-2/4) for South Carolina shows the former president with a commanding 30.7-point lead with 60 points–more than twice Haley’s paltry 29.3 points. And this comes after her embarrassing loss to essentially “none of the above” in Nevada on Tuesday.
READ: Second to ‘None’: Nikki Haley Loses Nevada Primary – the Jokes Write Themselves
Sure, it makes sense for Haley to continue looking for that breakthrough moment that any candidate hopes to swing polls his or her way, and maybe that could happen. But it will strain credulity that she’s got a shot at the Republican Party nomination, once she loses her home state. Stay tuned.