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‘There is a decline’: Nikki Haley calls out Trump’s mental fitness in New Hampshire concession speech

Haley insisted she is not dropping out.

 

Katherine Huggins

Tech

Posted on Jan 23, 2024

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley went after former President Donald Trump’s age and mental fitness shortly after he was declared the winner of the New Hampshire Republican primary.

While Haley conceded the race and congratulated her 77-year-old rival, she pledged to continue her campaign—whose next major test will be in her home state of South Carolina next month.

In a speech Tuesday night, Haley knocked Trump’s age and mental acuity.

“The other day, Donald Trump accused me of not providing security at the Capitol on January 6th,” she said, referencing Trump confusing her with ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

After someone in the audience shouted “geriatric,” Haley went on to say that she has “long called for mental competency tests for politicians over the age of 75.”

“Trump claims he’d do better than me in one of those tests. Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn’t,” she said. “But if he thinks that, then he should have no problem standing on a debate stage with me.”

Haley also took a similar jab at 81-year-old President Joe Biden, arguing that most Americans want a president who is younger than both him and Trump.

“Most Americans do not want a rematch between Biden and Trump,” Haley, who is 52, said. “The first party to retire its 80-year-old candidate is going to be the party that wins this election. And I think it should be the Republicans that win this election.”

It’s not the first time Haley has floated age-related criticisms on the campaign trail.

“My parents are up in age, and I love them dearly,” she said on Saturday. “But when you see them hit a certain age, there is a decline. That’s a fact—ask any doctor, there is a decline.”

And on Sunday, she told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Trump is “just not at the same level” of mental fitness as when he took office in 2016.

“Don’t be surprised if you have someone that’s 80 in office, their mental stability is gonna continue to decline,” Haley said, later adding: “Are we really gonna go into a situation where we have wars around the world and we’re trying to prevent war, and we’re gonna have someone who we can or can’t be sure that they’re gonna get confused?”

Haley is the only mainstream Republican challenger to Trump still in the race, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) dropping out before the New Hampshire vote. A RealClearPolitics average of recent primary polls shows Haley 30 points behind Trump in South Carolina.

Trump, for his part, recently claimed he aced a dementia test, and said he would beat Haley in an “aptitude” test.

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*First Published: Jan 23, 2024, 9:10 pm CST