Nikki Haley roars, ‘I refuse to quit,’ slams Trump as a disaster for the party - Hindustan Times
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Nikki Haley roars, ‘I refuse to quit,' slams Donald Trump as a disaster for the party ahead of South Carolina Primary

Feb 21, 2024 07:16 AM IST

Nikki Haley refuses to back down in her presidential challenge against Donald Trump, boldly declaring, “I feel no need to kiss the ring.”

Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and a presidential hopeful, showed no signs of backing down from her challenge to Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner, on Tuesday. She said, “I feel no need to kiss the ring.”

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign rally on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)(AP)
Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign rally on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)(AP)

Haley is facing a crucial test in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, where she hopes to win over her home state voters. She has been ramping up her criticism of Trump, who has won the first three states in the nomination race.

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She said in a Tuesday Greenville, South Carolina, speech, “We’ve all heard the calls for me to drop out.”

“I refuse to quit,” she added.

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Nikki says she will continue the race

In an interview, she also told the Associated Press that she would continue her campaign beyond Super Tuesday, when more than a dozen states will vote on 5 March.

“Ten days after South Carolina, another 20 states vote. I mean, this isn’t Russia. We don’t want someone to go in and just get 99% of the vote,” Haley said, asking, “What is the rush? Why is everybody so panicked about me having to get out of this race?”

Her defiance provoked a sharp response from Trump’s campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung, who wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “She’s going to drop down to kiss ass when she quits, like she always does.”

Haley’s campaign manager Betsy Ankney mocked Cheung’s comment on the same platform, saying, “What a move. @TheStevenCheung is the key to winning back suburban women!”

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‘I’m running for president because we have a country to save’

In her Greenville speech, Haley suggested that some people, especially reporters, came to see if she would bow out of the race after Trump’s victories in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

“Well, I’m not. Far from it, and I’m here to tell you why,” she said. “I’m running for president because we have a country to save,” she said, citing domestic problems such as crime, gun violence, illegal drugs, education, immigration and the cost of living.

The Indian-American presidential hopeful also addressed foreign policy issues, saying, “I’m talking about the American weakness that led to wars in Europe, and the Middle East, and the urgent need to restore strength before war spreads and draws America further in. These are the challenges I’m here to tackle.”

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Trump has been dismissive of Haley’s performance and has urged her to quit the race, after she emerged as his last remaining rival following the exits of other candidates such as Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, and Tim Scott, the senator from South Carolina.

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