Republican rival questions Trump’s mental fitness
Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley has questioned rival candidate Donald Trump’s mental fitness after he appeared to confuse her with former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a campaign speech on Friday.
Like many in his party, Trump has blamed Pelosi for the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, arguing she deliberately left the building under-protected despite his offer to deploy the National Guard for enhanced security.
The presidential frontrunner “mentioned me multiple times in that scenario,” Haley told supporters at a campaign event in Keene, New Hampshire, on Saturday. “They’re saying he got confused, that he was talking about something else, he’s talking about Nancy Pelosi.”
“The concern I have is – I’m not saying anything derogatory – but when you’re dealing with the pressures of the presidency, we can’t have someone else that we question whether they’re mentally fit to do this,” she explained.
Trump “made a pretty apparent gaffe last night,” Haley’s campaign manager, Betsy Ankney, agreed during a Bloomberg News event on Saturday, referring to the former president’s apparent confusion of one of his chief Democratic nemeses with the woman he appointed to serve as ambassador to the United Nations.
Speaking at Friday’s rally, Trump accused his political enemies of having “destroyed all of the information” from January 6 “because of lots of things like Nikki Haley is in charge of security.” He insisted that “we offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guard, whatever they want. They turned it down.”
Trump has previously claimed he warned Pelosi about the huge crowds poised to descend on Washington DC to protest the certification of then-president-elect Joe Biden’s victory. The “Stop the Steal” protest turned violent after police clashed with demonstrators, leaving four people dead.
At 77, Trump is just a few years younger than his chief rival, incumbent leader Biden. He insisted on Saturday that he had “aced” a recent cognitive test, while his senior campaign adviser, Chris LaCivita, downplayed the Haley/Pelosi mix-up, calling it a “distinction without a difference – it’s Nikki and Nancy” in comments to reporters.
Trump handily won the Iowa caucuses earlier this month and continues to dominate the party’s nominating contest with a double-digit lead in most polls. Haley, however, has seen her poll numbers surge with support from Republican power brokers who don’t want to see Trump return to the White House, elevating her to second place ahead of New Hampshire’s Tuesday primary vote.
The former South Carolina governor has called for “mental competency tests” for aging politicians in a dig at both Trump and Biden. The latter’s own abundance of incoherent “gaffes” have senior Democrats concerned about his chances of winning – and surviving – a second term.