Trump is headlining a South Carolina rally with state GOP leaders to depict Haley's support in her home state as wafer thin, report says

Trump Haley
Former President Donald Trump, left, and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.AP Photo/Artie Walker Jr., File; AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
  • Donald Trump wants to use a S.C. rally to contrast his support with that of native Nikki Haley, per The New York Times.

  • Trump's campaign aimed to rally support among GOP officials in S.C. early in the primary season.

  • But Haley is competing hard in both New Hampshire and her home state's respective GOP primaries.

Before any other GOP contender had even entered the 2024 presidential field, former President Donald Trump sought to lock up critical support among governors and legislators across the country.

It was a classic power move, as Trump wanted to put potential and eventual contenders on notice that he was still the dominant force in the party.

Early last year, Trump sought to showcase his strength in South Carolina, the home state of Republican presidential candidate and former Gov. Nikki Haley, as well as onetime White House candidate Tim Scott, by holding a large event in the state capital of Columbia with Gov. Henry McMaster and Sen. Lindsey Graham. Both men had already endorsed Trump, along with other key GOP officials.

And as the South Carolina GOP primary approaches on Feb. 24, Trump is headlining a rally on Saturday to spotlight his endorsements in the state and depict Haley as a candidate who lacks sufficient home-state support, according to The New York Times.

Two Trump campaign officials told the newspaper that the former president would use the event to project a sense of inevitability in who South Carolina GOP voters will support when they head to the polls next month. In addition to McMaster, Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson are also planning to attend to event, among other top GOP officials, per The Times.

The former president is aiming to make the case that with his victory in the Iowa caucuses, Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis should end their respective campaigns so the the party can unite behind his candidacy — and set up an expected general election contest against President Joe Biden.

Haley does have some institutional support among South Carolina Republicans, with Rep. Ralph Norman and former South Carolina Republican Party chair Katon Dawson backing her campaign, among others.

But the former UN ambassador is banking on a robust showing in New Hampshire on Jan. 23, along with a strong performance in South Carolina, in order to remain viable ahead of Super Tuesday.

As of Jan. 20, Trump maintains a wide lead in FiveThirtyEight's weighted polling average of the South Carolina GOP primary, with the former president averaging 60.9% support. Haley is currently in second place in her home state, averaging 24.8% support, while DeSantis is averaging 8.9% support.

Read the original article on Business Insider