Trump Dismisses Haley as VP Then Strongly Praises Tim Scott
Trump Dismisses Haley as VP Then Strongly Praises Tim Scott

By Nathan Worcester

As politicos debate who former President Donald J. Trump might choose as his running mate, a series of remarks in North Charleston sounded a little like a hint.

While President Trump has discounted former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as a vice presidential pick before, his language on Feb. 14 about his chief competitor for the Republican presidential nomination was memorably definitive.

“She will never be running for vice president,” he told the crowd soon after opining that Ms. Haley and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “both stink.”

He argued that he and the former U.N. ambassador had reached a level of mutual verbal ferocity, particularly on his part, that would rule her out as vice president.

“I hope nobody wants her, because I think she’s absolutely terrible,” he added.

“I don’t think anybody’s very devastated. We do have a lot of great people, by the way,” the former president continued, before a shout he heard from the crowd led him to pivot to praise of Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

“He’s a modest person. I called him up, because he was defending me on ‘Deface the Nation,’” the former president began, using his typical satirical version of the name of the show “Face the Nation.”

“I watched him [Mr. Scott] the other day on the Sunday shows. He’s just destroying people for me! But he didn’t act that way for himself. And he said to me, ‘I find it harder to talk about myself than to something I believe in—something other than myself that I believe in.’ I thought it was beautiful, and I want to thank him,” President Trump said.

Mr. Scott is one of many names referenced in discussions of a possible vice president. But others, such as South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), have often come ahead of him after Mr. Scott turned in a lackluster performance in the pre-primary presidential campaign season. His campaign received large donations from Oracle’s Larry Ellison, who also helped fund Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) unsuccessful 2016 campaign.

President Trump visited North Charleston as part of his campaigning ahead of the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary, which takes place Feb. 24.

He spoke just days ago at a rally in Conway, South Carolina. President Trump’s topics during that speech included Robert Hur’s special counsel report, which drew renewed attention to the elderly leader President Joe Biden’s mental competency.

“The special counsel’s report tries to let Biden off by claiming that he is too mentally incompetent to convict at a trial,“ President Trump said in Conway. ”But if Joe Biden is not fit to charge, then he is not fit to serve as our commander in chief.”

Early voting in that contest started Feb. 12 and will continue through Feb. 22. The race comes several weeks after Democrats’ presidential primary in the state, which was also preceded by an early voting period.

Incumbent President Joe Biden dominated that contest, receiving more than 96 percent of the vote. The win came after a weaker victory in New Hampshire’s primary, where the president’s allies mounted a write-in campaign for him because he was absent from the primary ballot.

The South Carolina Election Commission reports that more than 33,802 votes were cast in the first two days of early voting for the Republican primary, on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13.

That’s significantly more than the 6,195 votes cast over the first two days of the Democratic Presidential Primary’s early voting period. Indeed, there were just 48,213 votes cast over the entirety of the early voting period, which included 11 days when the polls were open.

That means Republican early voting turnout is already over 70 percent of Democratic turnout—an indication, perhaps, of the greater interest in the still-open Republican contest than in a Democratic race that President Biden has all but squared away.

President Trump defeated Ms. Haley first in Iowa’s Republican caucus, where she finished third, and then in the New Hampshire primary.

The two did not compete against each other directly in Nevada. President Trump won the Nevada Republican Party-run caucus, while Ms. Haley lost the state-run primary to the option, “None of these candidates.” The former president was not an option on Nevada’s primary ballot.

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