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Trump joined by South Carolina leaders at rally

Photo: Matt Rourke Associated Press “Don’t listen to the polls. Get out and vote. We need a big victory against these terrible people,” former President Donald Trump said during a campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire, Saturday, January 20, 2024.

Michelle L. Price – Associated Press and Jill Colvin – Associated Press in Manchester

January 20, 2024

  • United States

Donald Trump surrounded himself with leaders from Nikki Haley's home state in a show of force ahead of Tuesday's New Hampshire primary.

Trump was joined Saturday evening at a rally at Manchester's NHU Arena by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, the state's lieutenant governor and a host of other top officials, including the U.S. Attorney general, the treasurer and the speaker of the State House of Representatives. State officials, along with U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson, William Timmons and Russell Fry, appeared on stage alongside Trump.

“Almost every politician in South Carolina supports me,” Trump said.

South Carolinians urged voters to deliver Trump to victory in New Hampshire before voting takes place in their state and its first tie-breaking runoff is scheduled for next month.

“If you do this and win big here, we will finish the job in South Carolina,” said Murrell Smith, Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

The appearances are another blow by South Carolina against Ms. Haley, who hopes her appeal to independent and unaffiliated voters will propel her to a strong enough finish in New Hampshire to turn the race in a two-person race against Trump.

It comes a day after Trump received support from South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who joined him at a rally in Concord. Mr. Scott abandoned his own bid for the Republican nomination in November. About a decade ago, Ms. Haley, then governor of their state, elevated Mr. Scott from the House to senator, making him one of the most prominent black Republicans in the country.

Mr. McMaster and other senior officials had previously supported Trump. Ms. Haley has notoriously strained relations with many of her state's Republican power brokers, even though she was elected governor twice — defeating Mr. McMaster in the Republican Party primary for the first time.

Her response on Saturday clearly showed that she had not forgotten this rivalry.

“I’m sorry, is this the person I ran against for governor and beat ? she said. I'm just checking. »

Ms. Haley's campaign manager, Betsy Ankney, also brushed off appearances at a Bloomberg News event, insisting that endorsements had “never been Nikki's game.”

Return to the events at the Capitol

On Saturday, Trump repeatedly denounced Ms. Haley and New Hampshire's election laws, which allow unaffiliated voters to participate in Republican or Democratic primaries. The state's more moderate electorate should make the contest much closer than it was in Iowa's first race.

“Don’t listen to the polls. Get out and vote. We need a big victory against these terrible people,” Trump said.

Ms. Haley, for her part, on Saturday highlighted a gaffe made by Trump at his rally the day before.

Trump has repeatedly suggested that Ms. Haley was responsible for providing security at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the building in an attempt to prevent the certification of his election defeat. Ms. Haley was not at the Capitol that day. And Trump has consistently downplayed his team's failure to secure the Capitol or its delay in trying to repel the rioters.

“They say he was wrong. That he was talking about something else, that he was talking about Nancy Pelosi, Ms. Haley said. When you have to deal with the pressures of a presidency, we can't have someone else who we wonder is mentally fit to do this. »

“It’s a distinction without a difference. It’s Nikki and Nancy,” Chris LaCivita, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, told reporters Saturday evening. “What’s the difference?”

Even as their state's top Republican officials and much of New Hampshire's congressional delegation defended Trump this week, some South Carolina voters were undeterred from supporting other candidates.

“I am a strong Republican and I vote Republican because I think they have a lot in common with supporting the United States and the ordinary citizens of the United States,” said Sandra Chase, following an event for Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis in Lexington, South Carolina, Saturday afternoon.

Mr. DeSantis, fresh off a second-place finish in Iowa, has shifted some of his attention away from New Hampshire, where the state's independent voters appear to offer more of an opening to Ms. Haley. Instead, he's campaigning this weekend in South Carolina.

Ms. Chase said she had previously supported Trump, but wanted to go in a different direction this year.

“I just want to pick the best candidate, and I think the best candidate is Ron DeSantis,” she said. But I mean, everyone is allowed to support whoever they want. »

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116