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‘Nikki who?’: Trump campaign dismisses Haley after South Carolina win

Courtesy: Dawn News/Reuters

Donald Trump’s campaign plans to treat Nikki Haley as irrelevant after he dominated the Republican primary in her home state of South Carolina on Saturday, skipping attacks on her to focus instead on a rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden, advisers said.

The former president has easily swept all five Republican nominating contests thus far, winning states in the Midwest, Northeast, South and West and knocking out every challenger save Haley, a former South Carolina governor, along the way.

Trump advisers said they plan to ignore their lone remaining Republican competitor in an effort to render her campaign an afterthought. That would mark a change in tactics by a campaign that has trained intense fire on Haley in recent weeks, with a barrage of vitriolic online attacks, pressure on her donors to switch to Trump and public mocking by the former president.

Attacking her further, they argued, would only drive more coverage of a candidate who has no clear path to the Republican presidential nomination.

On the sidelines of a Trump event on Friday, campaign co-manager Chris LaCivita outlined the blueprint succinctly when asked about Haley.

“Nikki who?” LaCivita told Reuters.

For her part, Haley defiantly vowed to press on to Super Tuesday on March 5, when voters in 15 states and one US territory will deliver one-third of delegates to the Republican National Convention, which will choose a nominee in July.

“They have the right to a real choice, not a Soviet-style election with only one candidate,” Haley told supporters on Saturday night after her defeat. “I have a duty to give them that choice.”

Her campaign has released an aggressive schedule for the next several days, during which she will crisscross the country, from Massachusetts to Utah.

and resources that could be better directed towards securing the White House.”

But some donors have continued to offer Haley financial backing, arguing that she is the only alternative if Trump’s campaign derails.

He has pleaded not guilty to a slew of criminal charges and will face his first criminal trial next month in New York, where he is accused of falsifying business records to cover up an affair with a porn star.

“I think Nikki is the de facto backup for the GOP if something happens to Trump between now and the election,” said one Haley donor, who asked to remain anonymous.

“Probably a 2 per cent chance, but if you are talking about being the leader of the free world, why not?”

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