Nikki Haley Admits It's 'Very Possible' The GOP Is Fully The Party Of Trump

The presidential candidate likened the GOP to a "ship with a hole in it" but said voters have the opportunity to course correct by voting for her on Super Tuesday.
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, speaks at a campaign event Monday in Bloomington, Minnesota. Minnesota is among the states holding primaries on Super Tuesday, March 5.
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, speaks at a campaign event Monday in Bloomington, Minnesota. Minnesota is among the states holding primaries on Super Tuesday, March 5.
Adam Bettcher/Associated Press

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said it’s “very possible” the GOP has fully become the party of Donald Trump, as she was projected to lose yet another primary to the former president.

Haley was speaking Tuesday to CNN host Dana Bash not long before Michigan’s Republican presidential primary was called for Trump. Michigan is the fifth state where Haley has lost to Trump — another blow making it harder to justify her campaign.

“Isn’t it possible the party has moved, and the party is about Donald Trump and not what you’re describing, which might be the party of yesterday?” Bash asked Haley.

“It’s very possible,” Haley said. “What we’re doing is if 70% of Americans say they don’t want Donald Trump or Joe Biden, we are giving them an option.

“What I’m saying to my Republican Party family is we’re in a ship with a hole in it. And we can either go down with the ship and watch the country go socialist left, or we can see that we need to take the life raft and move in a new direction.”

Haley argued after losing her home state primary on Saturday that the 40% of voters who backed her represent a critical portion of the electorate, one that doesn’t want to see another Biden-Trump election.

Campaign spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas reiterated Haley’s point in a statement on the results. “Donald Trump is losing about 35% of the vote. That’s a flashing warning sign for Trump in November.”

“Let this serve as another warning sign that what has happened in Michigan will continue to play out across the country,” Perez-Cubas said.

Haley has campaigned as a conservative alternative to Trump, positioning herself as a candidate for independents, “never Trumpers” and others who want to prevent Trump from becoming the nominee — including Democrats.

On Tuesday, the former South Carolina governor again committed to staying in the race through Super Tuesday next week. Trump’s campaign believes it’s possible the former president will secure a majority of Republican National Committee delegates by March 12 or 19, clinching the nomination.

With just 12% of votes counted, Haley had about 29% of the Republican primary vote in Michigan as of Tuesday night, far behind Trump’s roughly 67%.

Haley explained her loss by arguing Michigan voters don’t know her as well as Trump.

“Donald Trump campaigned in Michigan for eight years. I campaigned for two days,” Haley said from Utah, one of the Super Tuesday states where she’s campaigning. “Our goal has been to try and reach as many people as we can, but we know he’s got the advantage in that.”

Haley’s allies seem to be losing confidence in her bid. The Koch-backed political network Americans for Prosperity Action pulled its financial backing of Haley after she lost the South Carolina primary. One of Haley’s top surrogates, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, said it will be hard for Haley to continue in the race if she doesn’t start winning.

“I think if you don’t win anything on Super Tuesday, it might be tough going forward, obviously,” Sununu said last week.

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