Haley ramps up attacks on Trump in New Hampshire

Haley ramps up attacks on Trump in New Hampshire

HOLLIS, New Hampshire — Nikki Haley wanted a one-on-one race with Donald Trump. Now that she largely has that in New Hampshire, she’s taking every opportunity she can to tear into him.

Over and over as she campaigned here this week, Haley insulted her former boss in ways she had restrained herself from doing for much of the past year. On top of that, she and her allies repeatedly skewered him on social media and trolled the crowd at his rally in Portsmouth.

“The reality is, who lost the House for us? Who lost the Senate? Who lost the White House?” Haley said during a rare gaggle with reporters after a campaign event on Thursday. “Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump.”

Haley’s offensive comes as Ron DeSantis has largely ceded the New Hampshire primary — focusing instead on other states — and Trump has significantly stepped up his criticism of her, including with conspiratorial, sometimes racist attacks.

Haley’s campaign this week has put out videos trolling Trump, as well as ones featuring flattering things he said about Haley when she worked for his administration. Both she and her campaign have made clear that Haley, despite failing to surpass DeSantis for second place to Trump in Iowa, is proceeding as if Trump is her only remaining rival.

At a rally at the American Legion in Rochester on Wednesday night, Haley devoted a longer than usual portion of her speech to accusing Trump of lying about her record — “He honestly thinks if he says something, it just becomes true” — and criticizing him for previously supporting raising the retirement age and increasing the federal gas tax.

“Those are things he needs to answer for. Oh, that’s right,” Haley said with a smirk. “He won’t get on a debate stage.”

Haley’s escalation of her attacks on Trump has been made easier by campaigning every day alongside a governor who was already a vocal critic of Trump. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who has endorsed Haley, on Wednesday and Thursday jumped at every chance to speak with reporters — and dump on Trump.

Having called Trump “fucking crazy” less than a year ago, Sununu on Thursday didn’t skip a beat when a reporter shouted across a crowded country store in Hooksett to ask about Trump’s polling lead in New Hampshire. Looking up from shaking attendees’ hands, Sununu made fun of Trump for only getting 56,000 supporters out to caucus for him from across the whole state of Iowa — a line the governor has used several times this week.

Other allies, too, are boosting Haley’s efforts to take on Trump in a more pointed way. Haley’s aligned super PAC, SFA Fund Inc., on Wednesday ran TV ads on mobile billboards outside of Trump’s rally in Portsmouth. The ads called Trump a liar and bully, and lambasted the “temper tantrums” and “chaos and drama” associated with him. Since Jan. 1, the super PAC has dropped more than $6 million on ads in New Hampshire, according to AdImpact, making it the top spender in the state during that time.

Haley’s X account this week has also been a notable source of Trump-bashing.

Throughout and ahead of her primary campaign, the former governor’s team only mentioned Trump on sporadic occasions in her social media posts. Nearly a year passed between her invoking Trump’s name on the website in August 2022 and then again in June 2023. Haley averaged less than one “Trump” mention per month between August and November, and then picked up her pace in December.

But in the last two days alone, Trump’s former ambassador has gone after him at almost a Trump-like pace, posting clips of herself taunting him with calls to debate — “He can’t hide forever” — and making fun of him for suggesting his own campaign’s polling data was wrong.

Despite Trump having maintained a significant lead over Haley and his other rivals in Iowa, her campaign released a video just before the caucuses trolling the former president for his claim that he was 60 points ahead in the race. “Wow, 60 points?” flashed text on screen, in between clips of Trump bragging about such a lead. “You sure about 60?”

Trump ultimately won the caucuses by a landslide — though the margin was half of what he had predicted: 30 points.

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