The New Hampshire Republican presidential primary returns wrapped up quickly on Tuesday night, with quick calls by the Associated Press, the New York Times, and Redistrict’s Dave Wasserman on the unsurprising outcome: a Donald Trump victory.
Now, pro-Trump influencers and politicians are calling for the former president’s last remaining opponent, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to leave the race.
Since pharmaceutical investor Vivek Ramaswamy and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) dropped out of the after Trump’s victory in the Iowa primary last Monday, the race has pretty much come down to a contest between Trump and Haley, Trump’s former UN ambassador.
New Hampshire was widely seen as Haley’s last chance, and an opportunity for her to turn the momentum back around against Trump, who’s been dominant in the national and state-level primary polls. New Hampshire’s open primary system, where voters don’t have to be registered Republicans to vote in the Republican primary, was seen as an opportunity for anti-Trump independents and Democrats to help Haley notch a win against him.
But that theory didn’t quite pan out, and the calls for Haley to drop out quickly started to roll in.
“Nikki Haley said she’s running to stop the re-election of Harris-Biden. Yet, without a viable path to victory, every day she stays in this race is another day she delivers to the Harris-Biden campaign,” the Daily Caller’s Henry Rodgers reported Taylor Budowich, the CEO of Make America Great Again Inc., a pro-Trump Super PAC as saying. “It’s time for unity, it’s time to take the fight to the Democrats, and for Nikki Haley: it’s time to drop out.”
The Republican Party’s failed 2020 Arizona governor candidate Kari Lake also chimed in.
“This is over, it’s time for Nikki Haley to take a look in the mirror, read the room … and recognize that this is no longer the party. The Republican Party isn’t the party of globalists, it’s the party of the American people,” Lake said.
Haley also was hit with accusations of being a puppet for the Democratic Party who was only staying in the race to hurt Trump.
“If Nikki Haley’s primary goal is to defeat Joe Biden in November, she will drop out tonight and endorse Trump,” wrote the Federalist CEO Sean Davis. “If she continues to stay in a race she cannot win just to attack Trump, then we’ll know she’s fully owned by the left-wing Democrats who are funding her campaign.”
“Nikki Haley should drop out of the race IMMEDIATELY so our time and resources can be spent fighting Joe Biden and the radical left,” posted @shaneyyricch. “agreed?”
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who’s been in the swirl of speculation as a potential Trump running mate pick, also came out swinging for Haley to exit the contest.
“Nikki Haley must drop out so we can focus on defeating Joe Biden to Save America,” she posted. “The #TrumpTrain isn’t slowing down — President Trump will #SaveAmerica!! 🇺🇸🚂”
Another former Trump 2016 Republican primary opponent also joined the chorus. Ben Carson, who was Trump’s Housing and Urban Development Secretary, quickly tweeted a congratulations to his “good friend” Trump and declared that the “primary is over.”
“I pray @NikkiHaley will drop out so we can focus our efforts on defeating Biden in November. We have a country to save and the stakes are too high.”
Trump also took aim at Haley in a Fox News interview, saying that Haley should end her campaign.
“If she doesn’t drop out, we have to waste money instead of spending it on Biden, which is our focus,” the New York Times reported him saying, noting that earlier in the day he’d told journalists on a campaign stop that he would “never ask anybody to pull out.”
For Haley’s part, she says she’s committed to staying in the contest. Ahead of the New Hampshire primary, her campaign gave a memo to the Times promising that they weren’t going anywhere.
“The political class and the media want to give Donald Trump a coronation. They say the race is over. They want to throw up their hands, after only 110,000 people have voted in a caucus in Iowa and say, well, I guess it’s Trump,” the memo read.
“While members of Congres, the press, and many of the weak-kneed fellas who ran for president are giving up and giving in—we aren’t going anywhere,” it went on.
On Tuesday evening, Haley picked up that theme.
“South Carolina voters don’t want a coronation,” Haley told a crowd of her supporters after the results came in, referencing the upcoming primary in her home state. “They want an election … We are just getting started.”