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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Nikki Haley stands her ground despite defeat

What Trump’s New Hampshire reaction could mean for the 2024 election
Jack Spiegel
Former U.N. Ambassador and Republican presidential candidate, Nikki Haley, speaks to the press during a gaggle at Mary Ann’s Diner in Amherst, NH, on Jan. 19.

Former President Donald Trump’s victory in New Hampshire’s Republican primaries took him one step closer to a second term in the White House. Although you could expect him to be excited, he was, instead, angry.

He looked frustrated with his own former United Nations ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Haley — currently running against Trump in the Republican race — lost to Trump on Tuesday night in the New Hampshire primary.

After her loss, Haley took the stage to congratulate the former president on his victory, but then made it clear that she wasn’t giving up anytime soon. Many who do not support the former president viewed it as the right thing to do, as do I.

I met Haley in New Hampshire while on a trip with one of Quinnipiac University’s political science classes and I watched her speak multiple times. She was very articulate and graceful. It’s very easy to trust her when she’s talking directly to you. Throughout her campaign, she hasn’t changed her position when it comes to the fact that Trump should not be president.

Unlike Haley, former candidates Sen. Tim Scott and Vivek Ramaswamy have rallied behind Trump now that they are out of the race. Haley, though she lost in New Hampshire and Iowa, did not. She stood her ground.

But even in debates, Ramaswamy and Scott didn’t dare insult Trump. While falling behind in polls throughout their campaigns and Trump leading the race, they most likely knew they were not going to win in the end. Hence, why they decided to back him. From what I observed, they knew he would most likely be the Republican nominee, and chose to backtrack on what they said to get on his good side.

But why?

Former U.N. Ambassador and Republican presidential candidate, Nikki Haley, speaks to the press during a gaggle at Mary Ann’s Diner in Amherst, NH, on Jan. 19.

I think they felt threatened. There was, and is, only one Republican opponent at the moment for Trump, and that is Haley. 

Trump’s tone in his “victory speech,” was defensive, and left me with the impression that he’s not as confident as he was in the beginning of the race. When he realized Haley wasn’t giving up,  Trump spent his speech exclaiming that he won. Despite the obvious win in the polls, he still felt the need to repeatedly state it. He showed animosity toward Haley, saying to Scott, “you must really hate (Haley).”

At the time of Ramaswamy’s departure from the race, Trump was significantly ahead in the polls. Although the gap is still there, it’s shrinking.

Haley isn’t backing down in order to please Trump and take a place in his staff. She stands by what she says, and because of this, she comes across as more trustworthy than other politicians.

Haley is an example that not everyone wants to kiss Trump’s ring, and that he does have opponents that can take him on. She is getting under Trump’s skin.

During her speech in New Hampshire, she stated, “today, we got close to half of the vote,” which showed an optimistic approach to her defeat. From what I gathered following Haley’s closing statements, Trump was visibly annoyed. He was condescending and even threatened her, saying he would put her under investigation if she won.

Trump’s “tantrum” — what Karl Rove of the Wall Street Journal is calling it — was a poor demonstration following final remarks from Haley, when he sought to embarass her with insults instead of celebrating his win. This was leverage for Haley and her campaign and it shows the country that Trump feels threatened. Many MAGA supporters believe him to be untouchable, but if he continues to behave the way he did in New Hampshire, Haley may have the potential to smash the pedestal he stands on.

Trump has never been challenged like this from someone in his own party and it exposed him as, frankly, immature. If Trump turns off his own supporters with his poor sportsmanship or even weaknesses, they will turn Haley into the next president of the U.S.

One of the many things I heard Haley say while I was in New Hampshire was “we don’t want the same.” Her commitment to her campaign, and Trump’s reaction to this, only attests to her dedication to the Republican Party and the American people.

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About the Contributor
Lillian Curtin, Associate Opinion Editor

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  • B

    Brenda CurtinFeb 1, 2024 at 5:11 pm

    Great job, Lilly! You really wrote this article in a great manner! ❤️❤️

  • J

    JohnJan 31, 2024 at 12:16 am

    I met Mrs Haley at a meet and greet event at a diner in Derry and she struck me as the most well informed, clear and concise thinking politician is seen in awhile. She’s definitely earned my vote in the primary and, assuming she’s still here in November…shell be getting my vote in the general as well…