At a Friday evening campaign stop, former President Donald Trump poured cold water on the idea that his former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley could be his 2024 running mate.
“She is not presidential timber,” Trump said of Haley, who has positioned herself as the main rival to his winning the Republican Party presidential nomination.
“When I say that, that probably means she’s not going to be chosen as the vice president,” he said.
“You can go and you can say certain things, and go, ‘I don’t like them, blah, blah, blah.’ But when you say certain things, it sort of takes them out of play, right?” Trump told his New Hampshire audience.
“I can’t say, ‘She’s not of the timber to be a vice president,’ and then say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to announce...’”
Haley came in third in Iowa’s Republican primary caucus last week, after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Both lagged far behind Trump.
Although Trump is also favored to win Tuesday’s Republican primary in New Hampshire, polling data shows Haley is his biggest threat in the state.
The former president has thus stepped up his attacks. On social media and on the campaign trail, Trump misspelled Haley’s Indian American birth name, Nimarata, with the racist and false implication that she changed it to Nikki for political purposes. (Haley has long publicly gone by “Nikki,” her middle name.)
Luckily for Trump, vice president is a job Haley does not appear to want for herself.
Politico reported Friday that Haley appeared “slightly irritated” when she told two diners at a New Hampshire restaurant campaign stop that being vice president was definitely “off the table.”
She has also ramped up her criticisms of her former boss, questioning his mental fitness at a recent campaign stop.
One person who does see herself as a candidate for that job, however, is Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.). She reportedly said she would be “honored” to be Trump’s vice president while campaigning for him in New Hampshire on Saturday.
Trump seems to be open to the idea. At a Mar-a-Lago dinner last month, he reportedly nodded when her name came up as a running mate, saying: “She’s a killer.”