‘I Refuse To Quit’: Nikki Haley Vows To Stay In GOP Race Against Donald Trump

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Nikki Haley, the last candidate standing between Donald Trump and the GOP nomination, doubled down on her commitment to stay in the presidential race beyond the primary in her home state this weekend, amid the latest round of negative polling for her campaign and a scathing new memo from Trump’s advisers.

“Some of you, perhaps a few of you in the media, came here today to see if I’m dropping out of the race. Well, I’m not... I refuse to quit,” Haley said in Greensboro, South Carolina, squashing speculation that she called a last-minute press conference to announce the end of her campaign.

Instead, Haley laced Trump and the politicians who support Trump in public but secretly oppose him behind the scenes.

“Of course, many of the same politicians who now publicly embrace Trump, privately dread him,” she said. “They know what a disaster he’s been and will continue to be for our party. They’re just too afraid to say it out loud. Well, I’m not afraid to say the hard truth out loud. I feel no need to kiss the ring. I have no fear of Trump’s retribution.”

The former South Carolina governor — Trump’s first nominee for the role of ambassador to the United Nations — has gone all out in her criticism of the former president since the race turned into a two-person matchup in New Hampshire.

“True to form, he’s taking out his anger on others,” Haley said. “He’s getting meaner and more offensive by the day. He’s trying to bully me and anyone who supports me. He says they’ll be barred from MAGA permanently. That’s not the way you win elections.”

Haley in recent days has attacked Trump for staying silent on the murder of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny and for his endorsement of MAGA loyalists to lead the Republican National Committee before he’s even secured the GOP nomination, arguing that she doesn’t want the RNC to become “Trump’s legal defense fund.” Trump is on the hook for nearly half a billion dollars in civil judgments, and has previously tapped his campaign to pay some of his legal fees.

But Trump’s campaign predicted Haley’s demise in a new memo on Tuesday, projecting that Trump would clear the delegate threshold required to become the GOP presidential nominee as early as Mach 12, after voters in 21 states head to the polls.

“We won’t bore you with the reams of data that show an ass-kicking in the making in South Carolina, but we will show you the very serious math problem Nikki Haley has. This is the diagnosis she refuses to accept: The end is near,” Trump campaign advisers Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles wrote in the memo, which was shared with the media.

Even if their math is off and Haley manages to overperform in upcoming primaries in states like California and Michigan on Super Tuesday, March 5, the odds are stacked heavily against her. Trump continues to dominate in polls of the race and each contest will only add to his delegate haul, adding to the sense of inevitability around his campaign.

A Suffolk University/USA Today survey of likely voters released Tuesday found Trump leading Haley 2-1 — 63% to 35% — in the state where she served as governor from 2011 to 2017. (Haley stepped down from that office before the end of her final term to become Trump’s U.N. ambassador.)

Haley’s only hope of shaking up the race at this point may be external to the GOP — Trump faces 91 criminal charges, including ones stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, which he lost. But even the possibility of jail time hasn’t shaken his hold on GOP voters and elected officials.

“The true ‘State’ of Nikki Haley’s campaign?” LaCivita and Wiles added in the memo. “Broken down, out of ideas, out of gas, and completely outperformed by every measure, by Donald Trump.”

Haley’s campaign is anything but out of gas, however. She raised $17 million last quarter, just $2 million shy of Trump’s $19 million haul in the same time period. She has a solid $14 million cash on hand and a big fundraising swing planned in Super Tuesday primary states in the coming weeks.

And all of Haley’s cash will allow her to continue a campaign denying Trump access to the big checks available to his likely Democratic opponent. President Joe Biden, who has formed joint fundraising committees with the DNC and state Democratic parties to collect up to $929,600 from a single donor. Until he clinches the nomination, Trump is limited to the normal federal limit of $3,300.

Biden announced Tuesday he raised $42 million in January and has $130 million on hand. Trump and Haley have yet to announce their January fundraising.

“People have a right to have their voices heard, and they deserve a real choice,” Haley said on Tuesday. “Not a Soviet-style election where there’s only one candidate and gets 99% of the vote.

“We don’t anoint kings in this country,” she continued. “We have elections and Donald Trump of all people should know we don’t rig elections.”