(The Hill) — Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign is sharpening its attacks on her Republican rivals, arguing that former President Trump is “consumed by the grievances of the past” and that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) isn’t “ready for prime time,” according to a campaign memo to donors obtained by The Hill.
The memo from Betsy Ankney, Haley’s campaign manager, casts Haley as above the political fray in the nascent GOP presidential primary, recapping her more than $11 million fundraising haul in the first quarter and early efforts in critical primary and caucus states like New Hampshire and Iowa.
In contrast, Haley’s campaign argues, Trump is campaigning on “the promise of more drama in the future, rather than a forward-looking vision for the American people,” noting that while the former president was facing arraignment last week in a New York courtroom, Haley “was on the U.S.-Mexico border offering her plan for stopping illegal immigration.”
“Donald Trump had a pretty good Q1 if you count being indicted as ‘good,’” according to the memo, which was first reported by Axios.
Haley’s campaign also takes aim at DeSantis, who’s widely expected to launch a White House bid later this spring, needling him for making “one misstep after another,” including describing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “territorial dispute.”
When it comes to other would-be presidential hopefuls, the Haley campaign’s memo was dismissive: “Wait, what others?”
“None have taken the plunge,” it says. “That’s of course their decision, but they certainly did nothing to help themselves in the first part of the year. By contrast, Nikki is a decisive person. When she puts her mind to something, she’s IN IT, devoting all her energy to it night and day, week-in and week-out.”
Haley became the first Republican to challenge Trump for the 2024 presidential nomination when she announced her campaign in February. Since then, only two other candidates have jumped into the race: entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, a relative unknown on the national political stage, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Despite jumping into the contest early, polling shows Haley struggling to break out of the single digits. Trump, meanwhile, maintains a staggering lead over just about every other candidate, declared or potential, while DeSantis is running in second place in most surveys.
Haley’s campaign dismissed the surveys, writing in the memo that “polls at this point are meaningless. The only thing certain about polls is that a year from now they will look different than today.”
Yet the memo also hints at a new effort by Haley’s team to hone its messaging at a volatile moment in the emerging GOP primary, especially after Trump’s indictment late last month in an alleged hush money scheme.