Trump, according to his campaign, will be joined at a rally at the NHU Arena in Manchester Saturday night by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, the state’s lieutenant governor and a slew of other senior officials, including the state’s attorney general, treasurer and House speaker. Also planning to appear are U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson, William Timmons and Russell Fry.
The appearances are yet another blow from South Carolina against Haley, who is hoping her appeal among independent and unaffiliated voters will propel her to a strong enough finish in New Hampshire to turn the race into a two-person contest against Trump.
It comes a day after Trump received the endorsement of South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who joined him at a rally in Concord. Haley had elevated Scott, who dropped his own bid for the Republican nomination in November, from the House to the Senate, making him one of the nation’s most prominent Black Republicans.
McMaster and other top officials had already endorsed Trump. Haley has a famously fractious relationship with many of her state’s Republican power brokers even as she was twice elected governor — defeating McMaster in the GOP primary the first time.
Her response on Saturday made clear she hadn’t forgotten that rivalry.
“I’m sorry, is that the person I ran against for governor and beat?” she told reporters, according to video from the event. “Just checking.
Haley campaign manager Betsy Ankney also brushed off the appearances at an event hosted by Bloomberg News, insisting endorsements had “never been Nikki’s game.”
Haley, meanwhile, highlighted a gaffe from Trump at his rally Friday night after Scott gave him a rousing endorsement.
Trump repeatedly suggested Haley had been in charge of keeping the Capitol secure on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the building to try to stop his election loss from being certified.
“They’re saying he got confused. That he was talking about something else, that he was talking about Nancy Pelosi,” Haley said. “When you’re dealing with the pressures of a presidency, we can’t have someone else where we question whether they’re mentally fit to do this.”
AP National Politics Writer Steve Peoples in Keene, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.
Michelle L. Price And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press