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Trump gathers South Carolina backers at New Hampshire rally to challenge Haley’s influence

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In a strategic move ahead of the New Hampshire primary, Donald Trump showcased his strength by aligning with leaders from Nikki Haley’s home state, South Carolina.

The NHU Arena in Manchester witnessed a rally on Saturday night, where Trump was joined by prominent figures, including Governor Henry McMaster, the lieutenant governor, and key state officials, emphasizing widespread support from South Carolina politicians.

Trump boldly declared, “Almost every politician from South Carolina is endorsing me,” as he shared the stage with influential figures like the state’s attorney general, treasurer, House speaker, and U.S. Representatives Joe Wilson, William Timmons, and Russell Fry.

The South Carolina leaders urged voters to secure a substantial victory for Trump in New Hampshire, laying the groundwork for a decisive early contest in their state next month. This concerted effort against Haley, who relies on independent and unaffiliated voters, adds pressure to her campaign as she strives for a strong finish in New Hampshire.

Former President Trump secured a significant endorsement from South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott on Friday, deepening the divide between Trump and Haley. The rally also underscored the longstanding discord between Haley and influential Republicans in her state, despite her two successful gubernatorial terms.

Haley’s response reflected her acknowledgment of the rivalry, stating, “I’m sorry, is that the person I ran against for governor and beat? Just checking.” Her campaign manager, Betsy Ankney, downplayed the significance of endorsements, emphasizing that it has “never been Nikki’s game.”

In a heated exchange, Trump targeted Haley and criticized New Hampshire’s voting laws, urging supporters to ignore polls and ensure a substantial win. Meanwhile, Haley seized on a recent Trump gaffe, where he incorrectly attributed Capitol security responsibilities to her on January 6, 2021, emphasizing the importance of mental fitness in the presidency.

Despite the unified front presented by South Carolina Republicans, some voters remained undeterred in supporting alternative candidates. Notably, GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis garnered attention, with voters expressing diverse preferences despite the influential Trump-backed campaign in New Hampshire. As the primary approaches, tensions between Trump and Haley escalate, shaping the narrative for both candidates in the evolving political landscape.

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