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Here’s what Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis said about Nikki Haley’s campaign for president

Haley said America needs a ‘new generation of leadership’

SHARE Here’s what Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis said about Nikki Haley’s campaign for president
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Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at the South Carolina Statehouse on Jan. 28, 2023, in Columbia, S.C.

Alex Brandon, Associated Press

Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, announced Tuesday she is officially running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Reporters asked both former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who are current favorites to win the Republican nomination, for their comments on Haley’s decision.

Although Trump hadn’t commented by midday Tuesday on Haley’s announcement, he previously gave his opinion on her decision to run. Trump said earlier this month to radio host Hugh Hewitt that Haley had called to talk to him about whether she should run for president.

Trump said he told her that “she should follow her heart.” Adding, “she’s a very ambitious person. She just couldn’t stay in her seat. And I said, you know what? Nikki, if you want to run, you should go ahead and run.”

Later in the radio piece, Trump accused Haley of being “overly ambitious.”

The former president is known for giving his opponents nicknames, but he hasn’t yet come up with one for Haley. This may indicate Trump does not yet view her presidential bid as a threat — the latest polling numbers hold her at no higher than 3% support among Republican primary voters.

DeSantis, on the other hand, has attracted Trump’s ire as the two are currently polling neck and neck for the GOP presidential nomination. He and others are expected to jump in the race but he has given no indication when that might happen. Some political observers have said that a crowded GOP field could hurt DeSantis’ chances of taking on Trump.

DeSantis hasn’t addressed Haley’s run directly, but at a press conference in Florida Tuesday morning, a reporter asked DeSantis about Haley’s announcement and if he plans to follow her lead and announce his campaign soon.

DeSantis responded while laughing, “Wouldn’t you like to know.”

For months Haley hinted that she was seriously considering launching a campaign, after previously stating that she would never run against Trump, her one-time boss. Haley served as the U.N. ambassador under Trump and was one of the few high profile figures to exit the administration while maintaining a good relationship with Trump.

In 2021, an AP reporter asked Haley about running for president, and whether she would challenge Trump if necessary. “I would not run if President Trump ran, and I would talk to him about it,” Haley said. “That’s something that we’ll have a conversation about at some point, if that decision is something that has to be made,” she added.

Trump declared his 2024 campaign for the presidency in November, becoming the first official candidate. But after disappointing results for Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections, Haley revealed she was taking the holidays to seriously consider a run.