Nikki Haley To Drop Out Of US Republican Presidential Race, Paving Way For Trump-Biden Rematch

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Nikki Haley, the former U.S. envoy to the United Nations, will announce the suspension of her presidential bid on Wednesday, Reuters reported, citing sources. This means that Donald Trump will secure the Republican nomination and face off against Democratic incumbent Joe Biden in the November election. Haley will deliver a speech at 10 a.m. local time (1500 GMT) to explain her decision, but she will not endorse anyone yet, Reuters cited source as saying. She will ask Trump to seek the support of her followers, who include many moderate Republicans and independent voters, the source added.

Haley Fails To Dent Trump’s Popularity

Haley’s move comes after Super Tuesday, when she lost to Trump in 14 out of 15 states. Haley was the last Republican challenger to Trump, but she never posed a serious challenge to the former president, who remains popular among the party’s base despite his legal troubles.

The election will be a repeat of 2020, when Trump and Biden, both in their late 70s, faced each other. Few Americans are enthusiastic about this scenario. Opinion polls show both candidates have low approval ratings.

The election is likely to be highly divisive in a country already polarized by politics. Biden has portrayed Trump as a threat to democracy, while Trump has continued to make false claims that he won in 2020.

Haley, 52, had attracted some wealthy donors who wanted to stop Trump from winning a third Republican nomination, especially after she impressed in the debates that Trump skipped. But she could not win over enough conservative voters, who remained loyal to Trump.

However, her better performance among moderate Republicans and independents – she won a majority of unaffiliated voters in New Hampshire and got nearly 40% of the vote in South Carolina – showed how Trump’s aggressive style of politics could hurt him in the general election.

On March 3, she won the Washington, D.C., primary with 62.9% of the vote, compared to 33.2% for Trump. On Tuesday, her only victory was in Vermont, a small, heavily Democratic state.

Biden Faces Age Issue, Trump Faces Legal Issues

Biden has his own problems, including his age. A February Reuters/Ipsos poll found that three-quarters of respondents thought he was too old to work in government, after already being the oldest U.S. president ever.

Haley, a former governor of South Carolina, was one of the first Republicans to join the race in February 2023, but she did not get much attention until she shone in the debates later in the year.

She focused on her foreign policy experience, taking a tough stance on China and Russia and strongly supporting aid to Ukraine, a position that clashed with Trump’s isolationism.

But she was hesitant to completely break with her former boss – she was Trump’s U.N. ambassador – despite his four indictments and two impeachments. Trump did not hold back, often insulting her intelligence and Indian heritage.

Only in the last months of her campaign did Haley start to fight back against Trump, questioning his mental fitness, calling him a liar and saying he was too scared to debate her. In the final weeks of the campaign, she became the leader of the anti-Trump faction of the party, a dramatic change for someone who had praised the former president in her speeches.

Still, she said she would pardon Trump if he were found guilty in any of the criminal cases he faces, a position she never changed.

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