Nikki Haley came out swinging against Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee on “Meet the Press” Sunday. While speaking with anchor Kristen Welker, Haley said that the RNC has “clearly not” been an honest party in the GOP election process so far.
She added, “If you’re going to go in and basically tell the American people that you’re going to go and decide who the nominee is after only two states have voted — I mean, 48 states out there. This is a democracy. The American people want to have their say in who is going to be their nominee.”
“We need to give them that. I mean, you can’t do that based on just two states. And not only that, it’s 1,215 delegates to reach the nomination. Donald Trump has 32; I have 17. So let’s let this play out. Let’s do what we need to,” she continued.
Haley pointed to her home state of South Carolina as an example of the potential for her campaign to succeed. “I mean, we saw South Carolinians — we had 1,500 people last night in Greenville County, and I think that Americans want to be able to make this decision themselves.”
“I don’t think this is the place of the RNC to do it,” she added. “I think that Trump overstepped when he pushed them to do it, and I think that’s why he’s had to back down. And that was the right thing to do, was to back down.”
When asked if she knows for certain that Trump pushed members of the RNC to declare him the presumptive Republican nominee, Haley answered, “I mean, we know exactly – the people that pushed it are his people. And I know that during the debates, I mean, he was pushing Ronna McDaniel to stop the debates. He was calling her every other day. He’s been pushing them to pay for his lawsuits and all of these other things, but at the end of the day, this is not about the RNC.”
“This is about the American people. This is not about a, you know, a political party deciding who they want to be the nominee,” Haley continued. “You know, when I ran for governor, there were five candidates. I was far from the nominee. I was the one — you know, I ran against the lieutenant governor and attorney general, a congressman and state senator. They did the same thing to me then. I won then, I’m going to win now.”
The interview took place two days after the RNC pulled a resolution that would have declared Trump the party’s nominee ahead of the 2024 election. The Associated Press reported that the draft read in part that the RNC “declares President Trump as our presumptive 2024 nominee for the office of President of the United States and from this moment forward moves into full general election mode welcoming supporters of all candidates as valued members of Team Trump 2024.”
Haley and Welker also discussed the former ambassador’s potential in South Carolina. Welker asked about her being the state’s former governor and whether she needs to win her home state to stay in the race, adding, “Is it do or die?”
Haley deflected a direct answer at first and said, “I think I need to do better than I did in New Hampshire. So this is a building situation–” before Welker interjected, “But do you need to win, Ambassador?”
Haley replied, “It’s not about which state you get and which you don’t.”
Welker repeated, “But do you need to actually win?”
After Haley faltered again, Welker asked one more time, “I hear you saying you need to do better. But don’t you need to win your home state to show that you can win a state, win your home state, and really put some delegates on the map for yourself?”
Haley answered, “Well, we’ve got 17 delegates – he’s got 32. I’d say that’s pretty good to start. What I do think I need to do is I need to show that I’m building momentum. I need to show that I’m stronger in South Carolina than New Hampshire. Does that have to be a win? I don’t think that necessarily has to be a win. But it certainly has to be better than what I did in New Hampshire and it certainly has to be close.”
Watch the interview with Haley in the video above.