Haley Reluctantly Endorses Trump 

lev radin / shutterstock.com
lev radin / shutterstock.com

One by one, Trump’s harshest critics reluctantly agree to vote for him in November now that the reality of a Trump vs Biden rematch has dawned on them. The latest to voice her grudging support is, predictably, former GOP challenger Nikki Haley. 

It seems like just yesterday that Haley called Trump too old, too chaotic, too prone to temper tantrums, and too unhinged to be elected. In a conversation with CNN’s Jake Tapper in early February, Haley remarked that Trump had displayed moments of confusion days and criticized him for throwing a “temper tantrum” on the night of his New Hampshire primary victory, during which he attempted to force her out of the race.  

Speaking at an event in South Carolina, Haley questioned whether Trump could defeat Joe Biden, given his significant legal expenses. During another February interview with Tapper, Haley described Trump as “completely unhinged” and accused him of favoring Putin over NATO members. 

As one of Trump’s most prominent challengers, Haley was more than a little salty when she was forced off the campaign trail in February. “I feel no need to kiss the ring,” she declared, adding that her “political future was of no concern.” 

However, her move to Team Trump may indicate that no matter what she says, her political future is far from over. By officially announcing her abrupt about-face on a Trump presidency, she can’t lose. If he wins, he may look on her more favorably, or at least focus on those who didn’t support him and leave her to her own devices. If Trump’s second term ends badly, she can point to her warning of potential chaos. This could set her up to push for a return to the GOP’s pre-Trump positions on foreign policy and the economy, which align more closely with her views. 

And if Biden wins, she can point out that she repeatedly predicted Trump’s loss while on the campaign trail. 

Haley was careful to paint her Trump vote as a vote against Biden rather than for the GOP candidate. It’s a decision faced by many Americans reluctant to see this presidential rematch. 

Biden saw his fair share of voters who only voted for him because he wasn’t Trump. Now, he is facing the same problem that Trump faced in 2020. But now, voters have forgotten the “bad” and are reminiscing about the “good” of Trump’s terms. Every policy Biden has made has been in direct opposition to the core beliefs of many Republicans, especially on issues like foreign policy, immigration, and economics. Additionally, voters are appalled at the left’s support of Hamas over Israel and Biden’s bungling inability to navigate the situation in Gaza. 

Haley’s lukewarm acceptance of her fate is far from an enthusiastic embrace of Trump’s presidency. It’s unlikely voters will see her on the campaign trail with her former rival, and she cautions the former president not to take her supporters for granted. She noted that it would be necessary for Trump to reach out to those who voted for her rather than “assuming they will automatically support him.” 

Even after suspending her campaign, tens of thousands of GOP primary voters have supported Haley. Haley appealed to Republicans who disapproved of Trump and sought an alternative candidate. She garnered staunch supporters, particularly in suburban regions where the former president faced significant challenges. 

Despite the importance of appealing to suburban voters, Trump has not attempted to win over Haley’s supporters. It’s a voting bloc now eyed by the ever-opportunistic Biden, who told Georgia voters there is “room for those who supported Haley” in his campaign. 

Biden may want those Haley voters, but that feeling is not reciprocated. Earlier this year in New Hampshire and Iowa, Haley supporters confirmed that while favoring her, they would remain loyal to the Republican party and vote for Trump if he secured the nomination. 

Haley joins Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in a tepid endorsement of Trump following a contentious rivalry with him. Like Haley, there is no doubt that he still harbors White House hopes for the future, and for now, backing Trump may be the only way to keep those dreams alive.