• Wednesday, February 28, 2024


Nikki Haley loses home state, but refuses to quit

Nikki Haley (Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)

By: Shajil Kumar

Indian-American presidential candidate Nikki Haley lost to former president Donald Trump in her home state of South Carolina, despite giving a better-than-expected fight in the Republican presidential primary.

Refusing to give up, the 52-year-old two-time former governor of South Carolina on Saturday vowed to take the fight to the Super Tuesday states on March 5 when Republican primaries are scheduled to be held in 21 States nationwide.

With nearly 90 per cent of the votes counted, Haley received 39.4 per cent of the votes against Trump’s 59.9 per cent, a gap of 20 per cent.

All the polls had earlier indicated that the former UN Ambassador was trailing by 30 per cent against Trump, who further consolidated his path to a third straight GOP nomination.

A candidate needs 1,215 delegates to bag the party’s nomination. So far, Haley has won 17 delegates and Trump has won 92.

“I said earlier this week that no matter what happens in South Carolina, I would continue to run for president. I’m a woman of my word. I’m not giving up this fight when a majority of Americans disapprove of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden,” Haley told her supporters in this historic city, a few blocks away from where she had launched her presidential campaign about a year ago.

“What I saw today was South Carolina’s frustration with our country’s direction. I’ve seen that same frustration nationwide. I share it. I feel it to my core. I couldn’t be more worried for America. It seems like our country is coming apart. But here’s the thing. America will come apart if we make the wrong choices. We need to beat Joe Biden in November,” she said amidst cheers from her supporters.

“I don’t believe Donald Trump can beat Joe Biden. Nearly every day, Trump drives people away, including with his comments just yesterday. Today, in South Carolina, we’re getting around 40 per cent of the vote. That’s about what we got in New Hampshire too.

“I’m an accountant. I know 40 per cent is not 50 per cent. But I also know 40 per cent is not some tiny group. There are huge numbers of voters in our Republican primaries who are saying they want an alternative,” Haley said, making her case for her to continue her battle against Trump.

“South Carolina has spoken. We’re the fourth state to do so. In the next ten days, another 21 states and territories will speak. They have the right to a real choice, not a Soviet-style election with only one candidate. And I have to give them that choice. We can’t afford four more years of Biden’s failures or Trump’s lack of focus,” Haley said.

Trump confident

A confident Trump celebrated his victory in Columbia, South Carolina. “There’s never been a spirit like this, and I just want to say that. I have never seen the Republican Party so unified,” he told his cheering supporters.

Notably, he did not mention Haley in his speech nor did he ask her to drop from the race. Haley in her speech in Charleston congratulated Trump on his South Carolina victory.

Trump, who by now has won all four Republican primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, exuded confidence that he would defeat incumbent President Biden in November.

“We’re going to be up here on November 5, and we’re going to look at Joe Biden, and we’re gonna look him right in the eye. He’s destroying our country and we’re gonna say ‘Joe, you’re fired. Get out. Get out, Joe. You’re fired,” Trump said amidst loud applause from his audience.

In her speech, Haley criticised both Biden and Trump. “Does anyone seriously think Joe Biden or Donald Trump will unite our country to solve our problems? One of them calls his fellow Americans fascists. The other calls his fellow Americans vermin. They aren’t fighting for our country’s future. They’re demanding we fight each other. YOU deserve better!” she said.

“So I will keep fighting – for them and for you and for all of America! I’m running for president to save America! And I’m running to remind us what it means to be American. In the America I know and love, we believe in each other. And we believe in America’s inherent goodness. Now is the time to renew that belief. Now is the time to remember who we are,” she said.

“I’m grateful that today is not the end of our story. We’re headed to Michigan tomorrow. And we’re headed to the Super Tuesday states throughout all of next week,” Haley said.

Trump a threat: Biden

Following the South Carolina primary, President Biden said that Trump poses a threat to the country.

“Despite the threat that Trump poses, I will say again to the American people: I have never felt more optimistic about what we can do if we come together. Because I know that America believes in standing up for our democracy, fighting for our personal freedoms, and building an economy that gives everyone a fair shot. To Republicans, Democrats, and independents who share our commitment to the core values of our nation, join us. Let’s keep moving forward,” Biden said.

Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison said that the results of the South Carolina Republican Primary all but confirm that Make America Great Again (MAGA) extremism has taken over the Republican Party — and that Donald Trump will once again be the Republican nominee for president.

“Just like he did in 2020, Donald Trump is running on an extreme, out-of-touch agenda that rolls back the clock on our personal freedoms, undermines our democracy, and rigs the economy in favour of the ultra-wealthy — and he has become only more extreme since his resounding loss to Joe Biden last cycle. The American people rejected MAGA extremism in 2018, 2020, 2022, 2023, and will reject it again at the ballot box this November,” he said. (PTI)

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