Nikki Haley Makes Her Case to Keep Running

Republican presidential candidate, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, speaks at a campaign event at Clemson University at Greenville on Tuesday. PHOTO: ALLISON JOYCE/GETTY IMAGES
Republican presidential candidate, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, speaks at a campaign event at Clemson University at Greenville on Tuesday. PHOTO: ALLISON JOYCE/GETTY IMAGES

Summary

She’s showing tenacity that is an important trait in a President.

Well, that wasn’t what Donald Trump wanted to hear. On Tuesday Nikki Haley delivered a 30-minute address that many in the press suspected, and Trump World hoped, would announce the end of her campaign. Nope.

Her message: Mr. Trump will have to defeat her the old-fashioned way, at the ballot box. “We don’t anoint kings in this country," she said in Greenville, S.C., ahead of the state’s primary on Saturday. “We have elections. And Donald Trump, of all people, should know we don’t rig elections."

Mr. Trump and his allies have spent the last several weeks declaring him the GOP’s de facto nominee and insisting Ms. Haley is helping President Biden by refusing to acknowledge reality and drop out. But there’s a bigger reality Mr. Trump’s campaign hasn’t acknowledged, and Ms. Haley put it in plain terms: “The only candidate who’s helping Joe Biden is Donald Trump, because Trump is the only Republican Biden can beat."

National polls consistently have the two incumbents neck and neck, and that’s before Mr. Trump has had a chance to remind voters of why they dropped him in 2020: his erratic behavior and never-ending personal feuds. Those traits, as Ms. Haley pointed out, have intensified since Mr. Trump left office. “He’s completely distracted," she said. “And everything is about him. He’s so obsessed with his own demons from the past, he can’t focus on delivering the future Americans deserve."

Ms. Haley didn’t dwell on the multiple indictments and judgments pending against Mr. Trump. But whatever one thinks of those cases—these columns have criticized some as partisan lawfare and all of them as ill-advised—Mr. Trump is preoccupied by them and they could result in convictions.

Ms. Haley wisely disassociated herself from the Never Trump movement and reserved her severest criticisms for Mr. Biden—especially his failure on the southern border, the chaotic pullout from Afghanistan, and provocative weakness amid Russian, Chinese and Iranian aggression.

But she also refused to recoil from saying what most Americans think about both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump: Neither is up to the job. “We’ve all seen them fumble their words and get confused about world leaders," Ms. Haley said. “That’s not who you want in the Oval Office when Russia launches a nuclear weapon at our satellites or China shuts down our electricity grid. We’re talking about the most demanding job in human history. You don’t give it to someone who’s at risk of dementia."

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has aired an ad alleging that as South Carolina’s Governor she proposed an increase in the gas tax. Not mentioned is that she vetoed the bill because it didn’t include an offsetting cut in the income tax. This from a candidate—Mr. Trump—who wants a 10% tax on all imported goods.

The polls say Ms. Haley faces an uphill fight in South Carolina, even if the surveys don’t reflect voters who usually skip the Republican primary. Yet she’s showing grit and tenacity in the face of insults and innuendo by Mr. Trump and his allies. They’d be better off worrying more about why Democrats are so eager to have Mr. Trump as the GOP nominee.

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