South Carolina Republican Rep. Ralph Norman described Donald Trump as “benevolent” when he called to announce his help for Nikki Haley in the GOP 2024 primary.
Norman explained to the One America News Network why he is now supporting Haley for president after previously being a staunch supporter of Trump.
So far, Haley, a former South Carolina governor, is the only serious candidate to confirm their intention to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination for president. However, while these are still very early days, she is struggling to gain traction.
Norman is Haley’s only high-profile endorsement, and polls show her trailing Trump and presumptive Republican primary candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
“I’ve supported Haley, I know her, she and I came into state legislation at the same time,” Norman said on March 2 during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland.
“I saw what she did as governor, I don’t care what the polls say. What I’m after is when she’s showcased in America, she will excite the base, she will excite young and old people alike, and she will excite people who have probably never voted before and now want to get involved.
“I called President Trump before did it and I said, ‘Mr. President, I’m going to endorse Nikki Haley,’—and was very benevolent as President Trump always is, he’s not what the press portrays. And he said, ‘Do what you have to do and I said ‘well, I know what she can do.'”
Norman went on to say that Haley has the potential to be a successful president because she will “carry out most of the policies” that Trump did while in office. “I’m excited the American people get to see what I know about Nikki Haley,” Norman said.
“And it’d be exciting times in particular when everybody gets in that will probably get in, from Tim Scott to Ron DeSantis to Mike Pompeo and others. We’ve got an exciting slate, but I like Nikki Haley,” he added.
Trump has so far not scorned Norman for not endorsing him as the former president has for donors and conservative clubs who have announced they will not support his latest White House bid.
Trump has repeatedly attacked Haley since she announced her presidential campaign, mocking her poll numbers and pointing out that she previously vowed not to run for president if he was also running.
“Nikki Haley had a hard time making the decision to run for President because she very publicly stated that she ‘would never run against the President,'” Trump posted on Truth Social soon after her 2024 announcement.
“I told Nikki to follow her heart, not her ambition or belief. Who knows, stranger things have happened. She’s polling at 1%, not a bad start!!!”