Haley Expected to Exit Race after Trump’s Near Sweep of Super Tuesday


(Headline USANikki Haley will suspend her presidential campaign Wednesday after being soundly defeated across the country on Super Tuesday, according to people familiar with her decision, leaving Donald Trump as the last remaining major candidate for the 2024 Republican nomination.

The former president is on track to reach the necessary 1,215 delegates to clinch the Republican nomination later this month.

Three people with direct knowledge who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly confirmed Haley’s decision ahead of an announcement by her scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Haley is not planning to endorse Trump in her announcement, according to the people with knowledge of her plans. Instead, she is expected to encourage him to earn the support of the coalition of moderate Republicans and independent voters who supported her.

Nonetheless, a resounding win on Super Tuesday for Trump appeared to put not only Trump on notice, but also his once and presumptive future rival, President Joe Biden, 81.

Biden appeared unhinged in a White House rant in which he acknowledged the serious threat he now faces of political defeat.

“If Donald Trump returns to the White House, all of this progress is at risk,” claimed a statement from Biden, who likely was not awake at the time, after the returns made clear that both would move on to their likely nominations. “He is driven by grievance and grift, focused on his own revenge and retribution, not the American people.”

Despite the near sweeps, Haley was able to capture Vermont, along with Washington, D.C., which she won over the weekend.

Biden, meanwhile, lost his primary in American Samoa to Jason Palmer, a venture capitalist and political neophyte from Baltimore who spent the past week campaigning there, the Huffpost reported.

Palmer’s victory put him next in line as the most plausible candidate should fate befall Biden ahead of the August convention in Chicago.

Another of the top contenders who was seen as a likely replacement, Michelle Obama, reiterated in a statement released by her office that she would not run, according to NBC News.

Haley appeared, however, to be on the fence initially over whether she would exit the race against her former boss Trump, for whom she served as U.N. ambassador.

Early reports signaled she had no intention of dropping out, an apparent response to calls from Trump and his allies for the party to join in support of him.

“Unity is not achieved by simply claiming ‘we’re united,’” said a statement released by Haley spokesperson Olivia Perez–Cubas, according to Politico .

“Today, in state after state, there remains a large block [sic] of Republican primary voters who are expressing deep concerns about Donald Trump,” the statement continued. “That is not the unity our party needs for success. Addressing those voters’ concerns will make the Republican Party and America better.”

Many appeared to suspect that the vast majority of Haley’s support, particularly in Vermont, came from Democrats who had crossed over in the open primaries.

Haley’s allies claimed that she exceeded most of the political world’s expectations by making it as far as she did, celebrating the fact that she became the first woman in history to win two GOP primaries. Her campaign said it raised more than $12 million in February alone.

Nonetheless, Haley’s defeat marks a painful, if predictable, blow to those voters, along with her coalition of NeverTrump donors and Establishment officials, who either opposed Trump and his fiery brand of “Make America Great Again” politics or were deeply invested, financially, in the failure of his populist policies.

Haley herself faced considerable criticism for being a neocon puppet of the military-industrian complex, given her own personal ties or investments with defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

She was a staunch defender of U.S. support for the war in Ukraine, which put her out of step with many in the party. Trump has claimed he could make short work of ending the bloody, two-year-long war between Russia and Ukraine, stemming from a decade of tension, by brokering a peace negotiation.

As she campaigned across early states, Haley often complimented some of Trump’s foreign policy achievements but gradually inserted more critiques into her campaign speeches. She argued Trump’s hyperfocus on trade with China led him to ignore security threats posed by a major U.S. rival. She warned that weak support for Ukraine would “only encourage” China to invade Taiwan, even as many Republican voters questioned whether the U.S. should send aid to Ukraine.

In November, Haley—an accountant who had consistently touted her lean campaign—won the backing of the political arm of the powerful Koch network. AFP Action blasted early-state voters with mailers and door-knockers, committing its nationwide coalition of activists and virtually unlimited funds to helping Haley defeat Trump.

But she would lose both Iowa and New Hampshire, and then refused to participate in Nevada’s caucuses, arguing the state’s rules strongly favored Trump.

She instead ran in the state’s primary, which didn’t count for any delegates for the nomination. She still finished a distant second to “ none of these candidates,” an option Nevada offers to voters dissatisfied with their choices and used by many Trump supporters to oppose her.

She had long vowed to win South Carolina but backed off of that pledge as the primary drew nearer. She crisscrossed the state that twice elected her governor on a bus tour, holding smaller events than Trump’s less frequent rallies and suggesting she was better equipped to beat Biden than him.

She lost South Carolina by 20 points and Michigan three days later by 40. The Koch brothers’ AFP Action announced after her South Carolina loss that it would stop organizing for her.

Haley has made clear she doesn’t want to serve as Trump’s vice president or run on a third-party ticket arranged by the group No Labels.

Yet, in recent days, she backed off a pledge to endorse the eventual Republican nominee that was required of anyone participating in party debates.

“I think I’ll make what decision I want to make,” she told NBC’s Meet the Press.

However she leaves the race with an elevated national profile that could help her in a future presidential run if she can, once again, reconcile herself with Trump-backing conservatives who have grown deeply suspicious of her politics.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press