“He went down a path he shouldn’t have,” she mentioned, referring to his deception concerning the election. “And we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”
In that second, Ms. Haley’s remarks confirmed that she was keen to entertain a political proposition that almost all different Republicans with eyes on the White House had not dared to utter publicly: that Mr. Trump’s maintain over the G.O.P. base will loosen, and that he is not going to be the kingmaker many have predicted.
However calibrated or certified, Ms. Haley’s strategy is a departure from that of different conservatives who’re believed to harbor ambitions for greater workplace. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who lent credibility to Mr. Trump’s voter fraud claims, has refused to acknowledge that his personal actions performed any position in inciting violence on Jan. 6. And former Vice President Mike Pence has mentioned nothing publicly since being compelled to flee the Senate chamber underneath armed guard as rioters stormed the Capitol, inspired partially by Mr. Trump’s assaults in opposition to the vp on Twitter for not interfering with the certification of the election.
Ms. Haley was particularly pointed about Mr. Trump’s therapy of Mr. Pence, sounding virtually dismissive of the previous president as she expressed her dismay. “Mike has been nothing but loyal to that man,” she mentioned.
Some Republicans mentioned that Ms. Haley’s feedback had been merely acknowledging actuality. As a politician who’s extra comfy with the institution wing of the G.O.P., she has not at all times had the belief of Mr. Trump’s base. And in a crowded 2024 presidential major, she would face stiff competitors for these votes.
“You didn’t have to be clairvoyant to see which way Nikki Haley would go once Donald Trump lost,” mentioned Sam Nunberg, a marketing consultant who labored for Mr. Trump. “She was never going to be able to take the Trump mantle.”
To different Republicans, her phrases of remorse had been too little, too late given her earlier deference towards Mr. Trump. Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who has grow to be one of the crucial outspoken critics of his social gathering because the Capitol assault, accused Ms. Haley of taking part in “both sides.” On Twitter, he urged her to “Pick Country First or Trump First.”