Nikki Haley makes her move against Donald Trump – CNNPolitics

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley makes her move against Donald Trump – CNNPolitics

Nikki Haley hasnt said much about Donald Trump and the future of the Republican Party since the former President went down the rabbit hole of stolen election …

Nikki Haley makes her move against Donald Trump – CNNPolitics

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, CNN Editor-at-large

Updated 10:23 AM ET, Fri February 12, 2021

JUST WATCHEDNikki Haley breaks with TrumpMUST WATCH (16 Videos)

(CNN) and the future of the Republican Party since the former President went down the rabbit hole of stolen election conspiracy theories, a path that led directly to the riot at the US Capitol on January 6.

That was, of course, purposeful. Haley, the former South Carolina governor and UN Ambassador for Trump with an eye on a presidential run in 2024, didn’t want to be anywhere near Trump’s false claims about the election. And after January 6, Trump became absolutely radioactive to all but his most ardent supporters.After waiting and watching for the last three months, Haley made her move Friday — in the form of a that includes this eye-opening quote on Trump:”We need to acknowledge he let us down. He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”And this one about Trump’s political future:Read More”He’s not going to run for federal office again. … I don’t think he’s going to be in the picture. I don’t think he can. He’s fallen so far.”

Which, whoa, right? After all, with very few exceptions, Trump allies — and Haley has been willing to stand by the former President through much of his radical presidency — have been unwilling to go on the record to offer any sort of criticism of him, much less to go as far as Haley does in those two quotes: arguing that a) the GOP should not have followed Trump down the rigged election path and b) that he has no future in the Party.That this interview comes out just after the House impeachment managers concluded their case in the Senate impeachment trial — laying out a damning presentation detailing Trump’s long stoking of the resentment, victimhood and hate that bubbled over on January 6 — seems like more than a coincidence. (My general rule is that there are no coincidences in politics at this level.) This is the moment where Trump is, arguably, as low as he has ever been politically. He’s not out. But he’s definitely down. And Haley is making her move to knock him out once and for all. ( — and all that.) Haley knows that, within the Republican Party Trump created, she is one of the very few who could deliver that sort of knockout blow.Haley had of this break from Trump in the immediate aftermath of the January 6 riot. She said Trump “will be judged harshly by history” in a speech at the Republican National Committee winter meeting on January 8.This strategy is, of course, self-serving. (If Haley was truly concerned about Trump’s negative impact on the GOP, she would have stepped up with this criticism looooong ago.) Haley wants to run for president in 2024. And she believes — it’s not clear if she’s right or not — that something fundamental changed in regard to Trump and the GOP on January 6. And that being an unstinting ally of the former President no longer represents a viable path forward.How she is trying to sell this change of heart is interesting. In the Alberta interview, she casts Trump in the post-election period as a friend going through a hard time. She literally told Alberta that verbatim in ; “I want to make sure you’re okay,” she told him. “You’re my President, but you’re also my friend.”This break from Trump then is not a political move first and foremost (it is, of course) but rather the tough decision to create some distance from a one-time friend who you’ve tried to help but doesn’t seem willing to change. That allows Haley to make the more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger break from Trump — a move that she hopes avoids fully alienating Trump backers while also endearing her to the establishment wing of the GOP that very much wants to put the Trump era behind them.Haley’s desire to be that hybrid candidate is evident in how she talks about next steps for the GOP and Trump’s role in them. Here’s what she told Alberta on that front:”Whether it’s an RNC room or social media or talking to donors, I can tell you that the love they have for him is still very strong. That’s not going to just fall to the wayside.”Nor do I think the Republican Party is going to go back to the way it was before Donald Trump. I don’t think it should. I think what we need to do is take the good that he built, leave the bad that he did, and get back to a place where we can be a good, valuable, effective party.” … the Nikki Haley 2024 presidential campaign!It’s an interesting gambit. And for Haley, it represents some real level of risk, because it’s possible that the Trump wing of the party won’t accept her criticism of their leader and turns on her forever. But Haley has clearly decided that the time for waiting and hoping for things to get better in regard to Trump is over — and that she needed to make this play now even if the outcome is decidedly uncertain.

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