US Republican presidential candidate, Nikki Haley has said she won’t officially rule out being Donald Trump’s running mate if he offers her the job.
Haley’s rivals as well as some Republicans have speculated she’s really aiming for the No. 2 spot behind the 77-year-old businessman on the 2024 GOP ticket. Haley, a former South Carolina governor and former ambassador to the United Nations has maintained she’s not in the race to come in second, but has not specifically said she would refuse Trump’s offer.
But she has now revealed why she won’t refuse the offer publicly.
“First of all, it’s highly offensive to think I would go through all of this to run for vice president,” Haley told the New Hampshire Union Leader in an interview published Thursday, December 5.
“I am fighting to become president and I’m going to win,” she added.
Haley then predicted that ruling out being Trump’s VP would be “the news for days” and take the focus off her recent polling gains against Trump in New Hampshire, where one new survey has her within four percentage points of the 45th president.
In the US, Trump continues to dominate the primary polls by an average of 50 points over his nearest competition, per RealClearPolitics.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign has particularly focused on the rumors about Haley wanting to run alongside Trump, launching a microsite to track the claims.
“She will not answer directly – and she owes you an answer to this – will she accept a vice presidential nomination from Donald Trump? Yes or no,” DeSantis himself said last month.
Those within Trump’s inner circle have publicly expressed fear the former president would seriously consider Haley for the job.
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon speculated earlier this week that a “big fight” will break out in the spring over the issue.
“They’re gonna try to force Nikki on the ticket,” Bannon said Monday on the “Human Events Daily” program. “They’ll say ‘Trump needs a woman, Nikki, on the ticket, she balances things and she can bring together that 15% of never-Trumpers in the Republican Party.’ We’re going to have to have that fight.”
Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. said he would personally intervene if Haley was going to be his father’s VP.
“I wouldn’t have her and I would go to great lengths to make sure that that doesn’t happen,” he told Newsmax’s Eric Bolling in an interview in December.
Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, a Trump supporter, also expressed heavy criticism, telling podcaster Tim Pool that “I would not only not vote for that ticket, I would advocate against it as strongly as I could.”
South Dakota Governor, Kristi Noem, also a Trump supporter, said the choice would be a “mistake,” but would not alter her backing of the ex-president.
“If he picked her, I would tell him I disagreed with him. But then I would support the ticket, because he’s still the president and the president still makes the decisions,” Noem told Bolling Tuesday.
Noem previously said she would accept the VP spot “in a heartbeat” if Trump were to offer her.