Haley pulls out of presidential race, leaving Trump only major Republican candidate

Haley pulls out of presidential race, leaving Trump only major Republican candidate
Copyright AP Photo/David J. Phillip
Copyright AP Photo/David J. Phillip
By Tamsin PaternosterAP
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In a short speech outside her home in South Carolina, the Republican politician wished Donald Trump well but declined to endorse his presidential campaign.

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Nikki Haley has ended her Republican presidential campaign after suffering defeats across the US on Super Tuesday.

Reports that she was ready to pull out started circulating on Wednesday morning, and Haley later confirmed the decision outside her South Carolina home.

In her speech, which lasted less than five minutes, the former UN ambassador did not criticise Trump directly, but stopped short of endorsing his candidacy. 

"In all likelihood Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee when our Party Convention meets in July," she said. "I congratulate him, and wish him well. I wish anyone well who would be America's president. Our country is too precious to let our differences divide us."

While not condemning Trump, Haley took a dig at the intense devotion he demands from his supporters.

"I have always been a conservative Republican and always supported the Republican nominee, but on this question, as she did on so many others, Margaret Thatcher provided some good advice when she said: 'Never just follow the crowd, always make up your own mind.'" 

She added that she hoped Trump would be able to unite Republican voters, and said it was his responsibility to earn the votes of those who did not support him.

Elsewhere in her speech, she reiterated the need to stand by America's foreign allies, citing the wars in Ukraine and Gaza.

Down and out

Haley, who is a former South Carolina governor and served as UN ambassador under Trump, first jumped into the race in February 2023. 

While outlasting several other high-profile Trump rivals, she lost race after race in crucial states such as Nevada, Iowa and her home state of South Carolina. And on Super Tuesday on 5 March, she lost every state aside from the Democratic stronghold of Vermont. 

The upshot is that Trump, who now has no significant rival, will accrue the 1,215 delegates formally needed to clinch the nomination by the end of this month.

Nonetheless, Haley is popular among the moderate Republican voters that Trump has yet to win over. Despite the need to shore up as much support as possible, he recently declared that Haley donors would be permanently banned from his campaign.

On Tuesday night declared that the Republican Party was united behind him, but in a statement shortly afterward, Haley spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas said, "Unity is not achieved by simply claiming, ‘We’re united.'"

“Today, in state after state, there remains a large block of Republican primary voters who are expressing deep concerns about Donald Trump,” Perez-Cubas said. "That is not the unity our party needs for success. Addressing those voters’ concerns will make the Republican Party and America better.”

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