Trump's 2024 Team For The First Time Attacks Nikki Haley In A TV Ad

The coup-attempting former president has been calling his rival "birdbrain" for months, but apparently the childish insult wasn't enough to stop her rise in polls.
Then-President Donald Trump speaks with Nikki Haley, who was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, at U.N. headquarters on Sept. 18, 2017.
Then-President Donald Trump speaks with Nikki Haley, who was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, at U.N. headquarters on Sept. 18, 2017.
Seth Wenig via Associated Press

Apparently deciding that just calling Nikki Haley “birdbrain” wasn’t doing the job, Donald Trump’s presidential effort has for the first time started attacking her on the air.

The coup-attempting former president’s super PAC, Make America Great Again Inc., on Tuesday launched a new television ad in New Hampshire, which is the site of the nation’s first primary and has seen the former South Carolina governor rise dramatically in recent polls.

The 30-second spot criticizes Haley for supporting a gasoline tax increase in her state a decade ago. “New Hampshire can’t afford Nikki ‘High Tax’ Haley,” a narrator states.

Haley, who once served as Trump’s United Nations ambassador, responded to news of the ad with a social media post: “Two days ago, Donald Trump denied our surge in New Hampshire existed. Now, he’s running a negative ad against me. Someone’s getting nervous. #BringIt.”

A super PAC supporting her, Stand for America, released its own ad Tuesday. “Of all the Republicans running for president, why is Donald Trump only attacking Nikki Haley?” its narrator asks. “Because Trump knows Haley’s the only one who can beat him.”

The premise of the ad, that Trump has not attacked others running for the GOP nomination, is not true.

In fact, according to a HuffPost analysis of Federal Election Commission filings, the pro-Trump super PAC has, between the start of Trump’s 2024 campaign last year through Tuesday, spent a total of $38.2 million in advertising on Trump’s behalf: $8.1 million praising Trump, $6.9 million attacking Democratic President Joe Biden but $23.1 million attacking Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who until recently was polling in second place behind Trump.

DeSantis’ Never Back Down super PAC has spent $31.7 million boosting DeSantis, $4.5 million attacking Haley and only $376,000 going after Trump. A newly created DeSantis super PAC, Fight Right Inc., has spent $5.9 million — all of it attacking Haley.

Haley’s super PAC, meanwhile, has spent $31.1 million boosting her, $8.1 million attacking DeSantis, $100,000 attacking Biden and, until Tuesday’s ad, nothing at all criticizing Trump.

Trump, who prides himself on his ability to brand his opponents with puerile insults, several months ago began referring to Haley as “birdbrain.” It is unclear why. Top campaign aide Chris LaCivita previously told HuffPost that trying to decipher Trump’s nicknames was “overthinking it.”

Haley has now edged past DeSantis in national polls and is just slightly behind him in Iowa, the site of the first primary season contest with the Jan. 15 caucuses. According to a recent CBS News poll, Haley is now at 29% in New Hampshire among likely GOP primary voters, just 15 points below Trump. DeSantis is at 11% and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is at 10%.

Trump — despite facing four criminal indictments and 91 felony charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty — has been the polling front-runner for the GOP nomination all year. The other candidates, with the exception of Christie, have chosen not to make his potential future convictions and prison sentences an issue in their campaigns.

Two of those indictments, one in Washington, D.C., and the other in Atlanta, have to do with his actions to overturn the 2020 election he lost, culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his followers. A third is based on his refusal to turn over secret documents that he took with him to his South Florida country club, while the fourth charges him with falsifying business records to hide a $130,000 hush money payment to a porn star in the days before the 2016 election.

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