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20 Jan, 2024 14:45

Trump claims rival ‘not able to deal with Putin’

The former US president says he ‘probably’ wouldn’t select Nikki Haley as his running mate if he secures the GOP nomination
Trump claims rival ‘not able to deal with Putin’

Former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley does not have the capacity for high level politics, Donald Trump told supporters at a campaign event in New Hampshire on Friday. The former US president questioned his Republican rival’s ability to deal with world leaders such as Russia's Vladimir Putin or China's Xi Jinping.

While former South Carolina governor Haley seeks to consolidate her second place in the race for the GOP presidential ticket ahead of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, Trump said she is not “tough enough” for the job.

“She’s not presidential timber,” he stated at a campaign event in Concord. “Now when I say that, that probably means that she’s not going to be chosen as the vice president.”

Trump currently holds a commanding lead in the race to challenge the presumptive Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, in November’s election, according to polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight.

He currently holds more than 66% of Republican support, the website said on Friday, placing him significantly ahead of second-placed Haley (12.3%) – who, in turn, is 1.2 percentage points ahead of Florida governor Ron DeSantis.

“I know her very well,” Trump added of Haley, whom he appointed as US ambassador to the United Nations in 2017. “She’s not tough enough. She’s not smart enough. And she wasn’t respected enough. She cannot do this job.” 

Trump added: “She’s not going to be able to deal with President Xi. She’s not going to be able to deal with Putin.”

Haley, meanwhile, has on several occasions distanced herself from seeking the vice presidential nomination. “I am not running to be vice president,” she said in Iowa last month. “I don’t play for second. I’ve never done it in my life. I’m not doing it.”

“I think that he [Trump] is not going to even have to worry about picking a VP,” she said separately to Fox News. “I know that I will in six months.”

Somewhat bizarrely, Trump – who has frequently questioned Biden’s mental acuity on the campaign trail – appeared to mix up Haley with former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an extended statement in New Hampshire on Friday regarding the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol.

“Nikki Haley is in charge of security [at the Capitol],” Trump incorrectly said. “We offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guards, whatever they want [to quell the riots]. They turned it down. They don’t want to talk about that.”

The Biden campaign posted the video clip to social media late on Friday, saying of the gaffe: “A deeply confused Trump confuses Nancy Pelosi and Nikki Haley multiple times.”

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