GOP presidential hopeful Nikki Haley said Thursday that former President Donald Trump will be remembered as ‘thin-skinned and easily distracted’ and criticized him for becoming ‘weak in the knees’ on Ukraine.
Haley was hopping around New Hampshire, a state where she has seen her 2024 fortunes rise.
A Granite State poll from CNN Wednesday showed her in third place, far behind Trump, but neck-and-neck with Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The ex-ambassador and former governor of South Carolina headlined a Rotary Club luncheon at the Portsmouth Country Club, where she was asked by an attendee how Trump will be remembered 100 years from now.
‘You get the prize for the question I haven’t been asked,’ Haley said to laughs – before giving Trump a very mixed review.
GOP presidential hopeful Nikki Haley said Thursday that former President Donald Trump will be remembered as ‘thin-skinned and easily distracted’ and criticized him for becoming ‘weak in the knees’ on Ukraine
A Granite State poll from CNN Wednesday showed Nikki Haley in third place, far behind former President Donald Trump (pictured), but neck-and-neck with Vivek Ramaswamy , former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
‘How do I think he will be remembered?’ she remarked. ‘Time does funny things.’
‘My thought will be that he was the right president at the right time. He broke things that needed to be broken. He listened and brought in a group of people who felt unheard, like where I grew up in rural South Carolina,’ Haley said.
She said that Trump was ‘strong on foreign policy and getting America’s respect in the world.’
At that point the review went downhill.
‘He was thin-skinned and easily distracted,’ she continued.
‘He didn’t do anything on fiscal policy and and really spent a lot of money and we’re all paying the price for it,’ she said.
She did give him credit for handling the border crisis better than Biden.
‘He used to be good on foreign policy. And now he has started to walk it back and get weak in the knees when it comes to Ukraine,’ she said.
Haley is so supportive of Ukraine that she said the country should be admitted to NATO as a way to halt Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion, reiterating that point Thursday at an earlier campaign stop in Bedford, New Hampshire.
‘A terrible thing happened on January 6, and he called it a beautiful day. And in the eyes of America, it was a terrible day,’ Haley added.
Former U.N. Amb. Nikki Haley headlined a Rotary Club luncheon at the Portsmouth Country Club, where she was asked by an attendee how Trump will be remembered 100 years from now
With the exception of Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and former Rep. Will Hurd, most of the 2024 Republican primary pack has been reluctant to hit Trump.
Former Vice President Mike Pence has done so, but in the context of January 6 and saying he had no right to overturn the 2020 election, as Trump had desired.
But without the gloves coming off, the race for first place has become static – with Trump way ahead – and the other GOP hopefuls battling over second and third.
Haley anticipated that could change as more of the field was winnowed out.
‘This is not 2016, when we had 17 people onstage. We started with 13, on the debate stage you saw it was eight, next week we’re going to the debate stage, it will be six,’ she said.
‘Going into Iowa, my guess is we’re looking at four, maybe five. A couple will drop off in Iowa. They’ll come to New Hampshire. I think you’re looking at three, maybe four,’ she continued.
‘Couple will drop off and you’ll have a head-to-head in my sweet home state of South Carolina,’ she said to cheers.
Trump currently has a 32 point lead over Haley in South Carolina, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average.