Haley boldly rejects South Carolina endorsements for Trump: “You can have them—I don’t want them”

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley seemed on Sunday to disregard former President Trump’s support from elected leaders in her native state of South Carolina, claiming she does not “want” them.

Haley, speaking at a rally in Conway, South Carolina, responded to the media’s swirling questions about Trump’s stacked endorsements from political elites in the state.

“So the press asked me, ‘Well, what do you think about the fact that your … governor in South Carolina came and stood behind … Donald Trump with all the other South Carolina elected officials?'” Haley made an apparent allusion to South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R), who served as lieutenant governor under Haley.

“And I said, ‘I’m sorry, do you mean the one I defeated when I ran for governor?'” Haley continued.

McMaster lost the state governorship to Haley in 2010, but was later elected lieutenant governor under Haley in 2014. He subsequently took over as governor in 2017 after Haley left to become the United States ambassador to the United Nations, and he went on to win two full four-year terms in 2018 and 2022.

“Do you mean the Speaker of the House and those elected officials that I forced to have to show their votes on the record when they were trying to hide behind voice votes?” Haley went on, perhaps referring to her interactions with the South Carolina Legislature during her gubernatorial term.

“Do you mean the same political party that I compelled to pass ethics reform and required them to show where their money comes from? The same group that I disallowed half a billion dollars in pet projects was furious with that group. “You can have them; I don’t want them,” she explained.

Haley made increased ethical accountability a key part of her governorship platform, and the South Carolina General Assembly eventually passed two bills in 2015 requiring lawmakers to disclose their sources of independent income and establishing an independent investigation commission to oversee lawmaker behavior.

The former South Carolina governor also mentioned her state’s two U.S. senators, Tim Scott (R) and Lindsey Graham (R), who both supported Trump’s reelection effort over Haley.

“You’re going to sit there and have Lindsey Graham stand up next to you and we’re supposed to say, ‘Oh that’s what we need to be doing,'” Haley continued. “And I’m just going to let the one against Tim Scott go. That’s up to you. I won’t say anything about it. We must live with our judgments.”

Scott, who had stopped his presidential campaign last year, formally endorsed Trump earlier this month and appeared on stage alongside the former president during his victory speech in New Hampshire’s primary last week.

Trump later faced criticism for that speech, which included several attacks on Haley and her White House bid.

Haley has consistently stated on the campaign trail that individuals favoring Trump are not members of the Republican Party, but rather the “political elite.” She claimed last week that the political establishment had never supported her throughout her career because she had always opposed them.

Despite early setbacks in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire, Haley has stated that she will continue in the race as Trump’s major adversary until at least Super Tuesday, while avoiding questions about whether a victory in next month’s South Carolina primary is “do or die.”

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