RYE, N.H. – Nikki Haley says derogatory suggestions in recent weeks by two of her top rivals for the Republican presidential nomination that she’s hoping to serve as former President Donald Trump’s 2024 running mate are a clear signal they are ‘losing.’
But Haley, the former South Carolina governor who later served as ambassador to the United Nations in the Trump administration, once again passed on an opportunity to categorically deny she would join Trump on the Republican ticket should the former president win the party’s nomination.
In a Fox News Digital interview Tuesday ahead of a town hall in New Hampshire, Haley reiterated she is running to win.
‘I have said from the very beginning I don’t play for second. It’s offensive for anybody to think that I would do all of this to play for second. And so I have said that. I will continue to say that. If people aren’t satisfied with that, I don’t know what else to say,’ Haley said.
Haley has surged in the polls over the past month in New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary and second overall contest in the GOP nominating calendar. And in Iowa, whose Jan. 15 caucuses lead off the Republican schedule, Haley’s pulled even with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for a distant second place behind Trump, who remains the frontrunner for the GOP nomination as he makes his third straight White House run.
In recent weeks, DeSantis and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who’s in third place in the latest polls in New Hampshire, have taken aim at Haley for not being vocal enough in her criticism of Trump. Both candidates have argued Haley has an ulterior motive.
‘She will not answer directly, and she owes you an answer to this: Will she accept a vice presidential nomination from Donald Trump? Yes or no?’ DeSantis said at a town hall in New Hampshire last month.
‘I can tell you under any circumstance, I will not accept that because that’s not why I’m running,’ the Florida governor added. ‘I’m running for the nomination and to be president.’
The DeSantis campaign last month launched a website with a URL of trumpnikki2024.com, which included a video suggesting Haley may serve as Trump’s No. 2 in the general election.
Christie, on multiple occasions over the past month, including a town hall in New Hampshire and in a CBS News interview, has emphasized that, ‘Ron DeSantis and I have both ruled out accepting the vice presidency from Donald Trump. Nikki Haley has not.’
‘That’s why she’s not saying strong things against Donald Trump,’ Christie argued.
Haley has frequently repeated that she is not running for second place in the GOP 2024 presidential primary.
And early last month, when a voter at a town hall in Iowa pressed Haley on whether she’d settle for the vice presidential nomination, Haley shook her head and made a throat-slashing gesture.
This week, when asked about the attacks from Christie and DeSantis, Haley told Fox News, ‘They’ve criticized me for everything. Let’s be clear. That’s what happens when you’re losing.
‘We’ve got a race to win. We intend to win it. We’re going to do it fair and square and, at the end of the day, we’re going to make sure America is strong.’