Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

CNN Panel Ridicules Nikki Haley After Speech Declaring She Won’t Drop Out

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. By Jason Cohen, DCNF.

A CNN panel ridiculed former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley following her speech announcing she will not drop out of the 2024 presidential race on Tuesday.

Haley’s campaign announced Monday that she would deliver a “State of The Race Speech,” which led to speculation about her dropping out of the race ahead of South Carolina’s primary on Saturday, but she vowed to stay in the race through her home state and beyond.

The panel asserted she has no shot of winning against former President Donald Trump on CNN’s “Inside Politics” after watching Haley’s speech together.

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“She wanted attention today and she got it,” CNN senior political analyst Nia-Malika Henderson said. “And, you know, the donors will be listening and maybe they‘ll give her a little more runway to continue this thing. Nikki Haley was there saying she likes hard truths. Well, one hard truth is her path to defeating Donald Trump is incredibly difficult.”

“She sort of makes it seem like she has a beef with the GOP elite … the beef should be with the voters who aren‘t really buying her message at this point. I mean, in South Carolina she is going to lose by a landslide. She was a two-term governor there, fairly popular on the way out, but … people aren’t liking her. They like Donald Trump much better … I think she lives to see another day. It’s sort of a prebuttal to her defeat in South Carolina. But again, it just seems like another day of this campaign that will end at some point,” Henderson added.

Trump leads Haley 63% to 35% among “very likely” Republican primary voters in South Carolina and is ahead by double digits in numerous voting blocs, a Suffolk University/USA Today poll released Tuesday found.

Host Dana Bash showed a graphic of Super Tuesday delegates and noted Haley’s poor chances of winning most of them. Trump is leading Haley by significant margins in Super Tuesday states like Texas, California, North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Oklahoma, according to a Morning Consult survey released Feb. 7.

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“What stood out to me about what she was saying today, is she was saying that she hasn’t given into the herd mentality, but when I think about democracy and when I think about voters, isn’t it the herd that wins, right? Like so it’s like, well, how is this going to work?” NPR host Ayesha Rascoe asked.

“She does have some donors, I guess the Koch group, Americans for Prosperity, they are doing some spending in the Super Tuesday states but there’s never like really a plan to show what state is she going to win? Like, how this going to work? It seems like what is keeping her afloat is there are donors who are willing to give who really don‘t expect much of a return on their investment,” Rascoe said.

Bash then showed a graphic of pro-Haley South Carolina ad spending dwarfing that of pro-Trump spending in the state.

“As much as she likes to say she’s not a creature of the elites, she is a creature of the elites,” Henderson noted. “They are the ones who are keeping this afloat. There is no real groundswell of support for her even in her own state of South Carolina … And so it looks like she’s going to go there and really have an embarrassing defeat.”

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