Nikki Haley is facing questions about what role she will play in the 2024 presidential election after her refusal to endorse the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, former President Trump, following her exit from the race earlier this month.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) quickly endorsed Trump after dropping out of the race, but Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, has so far only called on Trump to convince her supporters to join him.

This has fueled talk about Haley’s intentions, sparking questions about whether she might sit out the election entirely and how that might affect her political future.



It’s also created some worry for the GOP ahead of what is expected to be a razor-tight general election race against President Biden.

Many Republicans think their party needs to unify as much as possible around their presumptive nominee to increase their odds of defeating Biden, and they see Haley as playing a key role.

“I think there’s going to have to be some sort of outreach with Nikki Haley,” said Dave Wilson, a South Carolina-based GOP strategist. “The question is, can the two of them mend fences?”

Haley served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, working with him closely during his presidential term. But the two fell out as she challenged him for the GOP nomination and emerged as his strongest rival during this election cycle.

Her decision to stay in the race as long as she did clearly bothered Trump.

Despite polling behind the ex-president in most state and national polls by double digits, Haley stayed in the race until the day after Super Tuesday.

Haley said she did so to give Republican primary voters a choice; even after a decisive loss to Trump in her home state, Haley and her supporters argued that the 40 percent of the vote she won was evidence of cracks in Trump’s Republican coalition.

To beat Biden, Trump needs as many of those voters to come to his side, and Haley could be a piece to the puzzle.

“They’re the ones who are going to tip the needle one way or another,” said one GOP strategist. “It’s possible to earn their support, but it’ll take some elbow grease and an olive branch. That percentage is huge for a primary.”

Trump has some work to do to win over Republicans voters in the suburbs, who have been moving away from the party. Some Republicans say that outreach could start with Haley.

Haley is far from the only former Trump rival who has been cool to helping Trump.

DeSantis earlier this week did not say whether he would campaign for his ally-turned-rival in Florida.

“This is not going to be a state that’s competitive in November,” DeSantis told reporters. “So, I don’t anticipate there being much campaign here for the top of the ticket.”

DeSantis did say he would be open to campaigning with Trump nationally.

“I do think there’s going to be some local races that are going to be very important that we’ll be involved with,” he said, referring to Florida. “And then how I can help nationally, I want to be able to do that.”

The Trump campaign lashed out at the remarks.

“Ron really shouldn’t flatter himself by assuming we’d want him on the campaign trail. We’re actually trying to win,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told NewsNation.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy have taken to the airwaves to tout Trump’s campaign. They’ve also all been floated for a Cabinet position or to serve as Trump’s running mate.

Trump does have a history of burying the hatchet with former rivals, such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who made jokes about the size of Trump’s hands and other parts of his anatomy when the two were presidential contenders in 2016. Now, he’s being floated as a potential vice presidential pick.

“At the moment they do not figure into the calculus, but that can always change,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said of Haley and DeSantis. “It all depends on various things — do they want a spot at the convention?”

“Maybe he could call upon them for fundraising or campaigning,” he added.

O’Connell emphasized that the stakes for Haley, DeSantis, and other young Republicans are high, since if the former president wins, there will be a new GOP nominee in 2028.

“Remember, Trump can only serve four years therefore the stakes to replace him begin in exactly two years,” he said.

“For their own futures … I don’t think they have to go out of the way to be the biggest cheerleaders on team Trump, but the one thing they cannot afford to do is ever be blamed if he loses for being part of the reason why,” the national Republican strategist said.

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