On Thursday, Former President Donald Trump responded to the possibility that former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and other Republicans may challenge him for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination while speaking to radio host Hugh Hewitt.
“Well, she [Haley] called me and she asked me about it, and I told her she should follow her heart,” said Trump, who announced his 2024 presidential bid last November.
“You know, she said numerous times — I put it up, actually — that ‘I would never run if our president runs. He was a great president,’ et cetera, et cetera. She said that numerous times,” he continued. “But she’s a very ambitious person. She just couldn’t stay in her seat. And I said, you know what? Nikki, if you want to run, you go ahead and run.”
Haley was nominated by the former president to serve as the United States ambassador to the United Nations, a post she held for two years.
Trump made the comments after reports surfaced that Haley intends to announce a 2024 presidential bid on Feb. 15.
In a Truth Social post on Wednesday, Trump posted a clip of Haley saying she would back the former president if he ran in 2024, adding that “Nikki has to follow her heart, not her honor. She should definitely run!”
Haley isn’t the only possible contender from South Carolina, as Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) has announced a national “Faith in America” tour, set to kick off on Feb. 16 in South Carolina. Scott will also speak in Iowa, a key early state during primary season, on Feb. 22.
Trump was asked by Hewitt if he would support the Republican candidate in 2024 even if it isn’t him, to which Trump responded, “it would depend,” adding, “I would give you the same answer I gave in 2016 during the debates.”
During the first Republican presidential primary debate in August 2015, Fox News Anchor Bret Baier asked if anyone would not swear to back the eventual GOP candidate and if they would raise their hand if so.
Trump famously raised his hand, saying “If I’m the nominee, I will pledge I will not run as an independent. But — and I am discussing it with everybody, but I’m, you know, talking about a lot of leverage. We want to win, and we will win. But I want to win as the Republican.”
Also during the interview with Hewitt, Trump hit out at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been highly talked about as a contender for the office, saying that Trump was responsible for his success in his election to the office of governor, citing his 2017 endorsement of DeSantis in the Republican gubernatorial contest.
Hewitt later pressed Trump on the loyalty of some potential 2024 rivals, asking if Trump believed DeSantis, Haley, former Trump CIA chief and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Virginia Gov. Glenn Younkin, should not challenge Trump for the 2024 presidential nomination “if you have helped them.”
“Yeah, I would say that, but I know how life works. And I know how politics works. And politics is a microcosm, but even more vicious, of life. So you know, I’ve helped all those people,” Trump responded.
Trump also suggested that Democrats had become indistinguishable from Marxists or communists.
“The train never stopped at socialism, okay? It was supposed to stop at socialism. It just passed that. So we’re into communism, Marxism, and other things,” he told Hewitt.
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