The day after Nikki Haley officially launched her campaign for president, directly challenging former President Donald Trump for the GOP nomination, Trump released several criticisms of his new opponent.

Haley was the South Carolina governor before Trump appointed her in 2017 to serve in his administration as the United Nations ambassador. During her campaign launch Wednesday she drew attention to her foreign policy experience. Although the two appeared to work together well while Trump was in the White House, he attempted to diminish her foreign policy expertise by saying he appointed her merely to get her out of the Palmetto State.

Screenshot of @realDonaldTrump on Truth Social

Thursday morning Haley declined to hit back at Trump while on “Fox & Friends,” saying instead, “Donald Trump is my friend ... I’m not kicking sideways in this race. I’m kicking forward. It is Joe Biden who’s the president.”

Although Haley pulled her punches, that didn’t stop Trump from throwing more of his by midday Thursday. He reposted various op-eds on his Truth Social account that criticized Haley for being an interventionist neoconservative, a flip-flopper and a “born-loser.”

Trump’s campaign also weighed in on his rival’s history, comparing Haley’s track record to 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. A campaign email titled, “the Real Nikki Haley,” quotes her 2012 interview with The New York Times where she said Clinton inspired her own career in politics.

The email also attacks Haley for her past support of addressing Social Security and Medicare to get at “the heart of what is causing government to grow.”

Haley didn’t mention reforming Social Security or Medicare in her campaign launch, but Trump’s criticism of her past comments appear to parallel criticism of the GOP by President Joe Biden. In his State of the Union address he called out some Republicans for wanting to reform entitlement programs.

Biden was the target of loud boos from Republicans at last week’s speech when he said “Some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset.” The president made the comments in regard to ongoing negotiations over a debt ceiling increase that Republicans want to be tied to spending cuts.

In a Wednesday evening interview with “Fox News Digital,” Trump welcomed Haley to the presidential race. “The more the merrier,” he said in response to the prospect that other members of his former cabinet might also announce presidential campaigns.

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In 2021, Haley told the press she wouldn’t run against Trump if he decided to run again for president, promising to talk to her former boss first before making the decision to run. Trump announced his campaign in November, becoming the first Republican to do so. Trump revealed earlier this month in a radio interview that Haley called him to discuss the prospect of her jumping in the race.

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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.”

On Wednesday, he reiterated what he told Haley. “I’m glad she’s running,” Trump told Fox News. “I want her to follow her heart — even though she made a commitment that she would never run against who she called the greatest president of her lifetime.”

Trump said he is comfortable with where his campaign is right now, pointing to some polls that show him up in primary states. “I’m leading in every poll by a lot — both Republicans and Democrat alike,” Trump said. “We’re going to make America great again.”

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