Despite a disastrous result in the Nevada primary where she was beaten by “None of these candidates” in a race in which Donald Trump did not participate, Nikki Haley continues to lay into the former president and current occupant of the Oval Office, Joe Biden, over their respective ages.
The former UN ambassador is focusing all of her energy on her home state of South Carolina where she served as governor for two terms, and has vowed to stay in the race for the Republican Party presidential nomination even after Tuesday’s embarrassing outcome in the Silver State.
Her campaign pitch against both Mr Trump and President Biden is that they are both too old to lead the country, aged 77 and 81 respectively, and that it is time for generational change. Ms Haley is 52.
On Tuesday evening she posted on X: “We all know 80-year-olds who can run circles around us…and then we know Trump and Biden. We need a president who has the focus and stamina to deal with all the challenges facing our country.”
Alongside the post, she shared a video clip from CNN in which she calls for mental competency tests for politicians over the age of 75.
The clip also includes a reference to a previous remark the former ambassador made in which she referred to Mr Trump and Mr Biden as “grumpy old men”.
Ms Haley’s loss in Nevada is a little more complex than her previous defeats to the former president in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries.
Thanks to a disagreement over Nevada’s switch from a caucus system to primaries after 2020 (which ended in a court battle), the Nevada Republican Party is holding two contests in 2024.
The first was a state-sanctioned primary, which Ms Haley was projected by The AP and other outlets to lose to “none of these candidates”, on Tuesday evening. The second will be a round of caucuses held on Thursday.
We all know 80 year olds who can run circles around us…and then we know Trump and Biden. We need a president who has the focus and stamina to deal with all the challenges facing our country. pic.twitter.com/0JvQB9dfG8
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) February 7, 2024
While Ms Haley ran in the primary, Mr Trump is running in the caucuses. Ms Haley’s only rivals had all exited the primary race before Tuesday.
And thanks to rules allowing political parties to run their own nominating contests as they see fit, the results of Thursday’s caucuses will determine who takes Nevada’s 26 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.
Ms Haley’s campaign has derided the caucus system in Nevada as “rigged” for Mr Trump and said repeatedly that she was refusing to participate. This line of defence has irked officials within Nevada’s Republican Party, who accused Ms Haley in turn of being afraid to challenge the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination in their state.
“We have not spent a dime nor an ounce of energy on Nevada. We aren’t going to pay $55,000 to a Trump entity to participate in a process that is rigged for Trump. Nevada is not and has never been our focus. I’m truly not sure what the Trump team is up to out there but they seem pretty spun up about it,” Ms Haley’s campaign manager Betsy Ankey said earlier this week.
Ms Haley’s campaign is instead pouring resources into South Carolina, where she served as governor, and looking ahead to states set to vote on Super Tuesday in early March.