GOP front-runner Donald Trump said rival Nikki Haley’s insistence on continuing her 2024 campaign after repeated losses “hurts the party” and “hurts the country.”
“I think she hurts herself, but I think she hurts the party — and in a way, hurts the country,” the former president told reporters outside his Mar-a-Lago residence moments after the US Supreme Court finished hearing oral arguments about his Colorado ballot case.
“I don’t know why she continues,” he added. “I don’t really care if she continues.”
Trump, 77, then highlighted Haley’s losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and the Nevada primary, where his supporters overwhelmingly voted for “None of these candidates.”
“I don’t know why she continues, but let her continue. We have a big win coming up, as you know, in South Carolina, and the polls are indicating that we’re through the roof on that one,” Trump said.
The ex-commander-in-chief was also confident he would do “very well” in the Nevada caucus set for Thursday night, where 26 delegates are up for grabs.
Haley, 55, was registered for the Feb. 6 primary because her campaign didn’t want to pay $55,000 for a caucus that it says is “rigged” for Trump.
On the US Virgin Islands caucus, also scheduled for Thursday night, Trump appeared to be less sure of a win, saying Haley is “playing it very hard.”
Trump’s comments about Haley’s campaign hurting “the party” run counter to his previous argument that the election should carry on until she drops out “for the sake of party unity.”
The former president nudged the Republican National Committee to abandon a resolution that would have made him the “presumptive nominee.”
“While I greatly appreciate the Republican National Committee (RNC) wanting to make me their PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE, and while they have far more votes than necessary to do it, I feel, for the sake of PARTY UNITY, that they should NOT go forward with this plan,” Trump wrote on Truth Social last month.
“I should do it the ‘Old Fashioned’ way, and finish the process off AT THE BALLOT BOX. Thank you to the RNC for the Respect and Devotion you have shown me!”
Haley has continued to push ahead with her presidential run despite her losses, arguing that Trump does not deserve a “coronation.”
She has said she plans to run through South Carolina and Super Tuesday, and that the first few states in the election cycle should not dictate the nominee.
The former South Carolina governor has also said she needs to perform better in her home state than she did in Iowa and New Hampshire in order to continue her campaign.
“As long as I keep growing per state, I am in this race,” Haley told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in January. “I have every intention of going to Super Tuesday, through Super Tuesday. We’re going to keep on going and see where this gets us. That’s what we know we’re going to do right now. I take it one state at a time. I don’t think too far ahead.”
The benchmark to “keep growing” is 43%, which is how much Haley received in New Hampshire in her second-place finish.