LOS ANGELES – After perhaps her worst result in her Republican primary campaign – finishing second to “None of These Candidates” in Nevada’s primary, in which the front-runner, former President Donald Trump was not competing – Nikki Haley unloaded on her own party, painting the day not as bad for her, but for Republicans.
In a post on social media Wednesday, Haley cast her party as mired in the same disorder that surrounds the man who has remade it in his image. She pointed to three events that all happened in the hours before her second-place finish: Republican setbacks in Congress over a border security bill; Ronna McDaniel’s announcement that she plans to step down as chair of the Republican National Committee; and an appeals court’s rejection of Trump’s claim that he is immune from prosecution on charges of trying to overturn the 2020 election results.
”Republicans keep doing the same thing and getting the same result: chaos. That’s the definition of insanity,” she wrote, adding that the “RNC imploded,” the “GOP House can’t pass ANYTHING” and “Trump lost another court case & threw another temper tantrum.” The missive is the latest break between Haley and her party, as she has come to take a sharper and more combative approach toward Trump, seeking to oust him from his perch atop the Republican nominating contest.
In the Nevada primary Tuesday, Haley finished behind a “None of These Candidates” option on the ballot. She will technically win the contest anyway, as state election law says that “only votes cast for the named candidates shall be counted.” But the confounding result has denied her even a symbolic victory. Haley’s team has long said she did not spend any time or money in Nevada after the state party changed the rules to favor Trump, deciding to award all of the state’s 26 delegates to the winner of a caucus scheduled for Thursday.
Haley has continued to project confidence, saying that she will stay in the race until Super Tuesday, on March 5. But she remains far behind Trump in most state and national polls. In South Carolina, where she was governor and which will hold its primary Feb. 24, she trails him by roughly 30 percentage points. In California, a Super Tuesday state, and where she is set to appear for a rally Wednesday evening, she is down by more than 50.
Both on the campaign trail and in national interviews this week, Haley has continued to call for a new generation of leadership and criticized Trump for holding up a border security deal, calling the delays irresponsible and urging Congress to pass the legislation.
”The problem I have is – here you have President Trump telling Congress don’t pass anything until after the election,” she told an audience of 500 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. “We can’t wait.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.