Nikki Haley: Trump Can’t Win Because He ‘Drives People Away’

The former South Carolina governor isn’t quitting the 2024 race despite Saturday’s primary loss to Donald Trump.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — An embarrassing home-state loss won’t deter former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley from standing in the way of Donald Trump’s romp to the GOP presidential nomination — at least, for now.

Addressing supporters at an election night watch party on Saturday night, Haley reiterated that she planned to stay in the race because she thought Trump would lose in November.

“I don’t believe Donald Trump can beat Joe Biden,” she continued, making the case that her performance so far foreshadows problems for Trump’s general election campaign.

Haley’s unofficial vote share is still in flux, however. She was projected to have won roughly 39% of ballots cast as of 9:30 p.m. ET.

“Nearly every day Trump drives people away,” she said. “Today we’re getting 40 percent of the vote. That’s about what we got in New Hampshire. I know 40 percent isn’t 50 percent. I also know 40 percent is not some tiny group. There are a huge number of voters in our Republican primary who want an alternative.”

Haley noted that she’ll be campaigning next in Michigan, which votes in its primary on Tuesday.

The South Carolina race was called by CNN for Trump at almost exactly 7 p.m. — before the ballroom at the swanky Hotel Charleston had even opened to Haley’s watch party guests.

Her supporters whooped and danced when CNN’s live feed cut to the ballroom. The mood was lively, and many Haley supporters seemed undeterred by the quick race call or the state of the race in general.

“I think that everybody here really believes in her message and leadership, and that it’s time to turn the page on leadership in this country,” said Rachel Geilenfeld, who led the Women for Haley coalition in Iowa.

“This is an unprecedented election and I think that Nikki needs to stay in as long as she thinks it’s the right thing to do,” she told HuffPost.

Patricia Thompson, an attendee who described herself as a lifelong Republican, urged Haley to stay in the race as long as possible in order to make a moral case against Trump — or at least to give the GOP a fallback option if he is somehow forced to withdraw due to his legal issues.

“No reason for her not to — hope he chokes on a sandwich,” the 59 year-old from Pennsylvania said of the former president. “Even if there’s nothing this time, it gives hope.”

“My hope is, if he wins, she sticks it out and comes back next year,” she continued, before quickly adding: “Trump had better go to jail.”

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