Four days before she will face former President Donald Trump in a primary in her home state -- a race that, per polling, she is expected to lose -- Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley insisted she’s not on the verge of dropping out of the race.

“I'm not going anywhere,” the former United Nations ambassador said during a speech Tuesday in Greenville, South Carolina. “I'm campaigning every day until the last person votes.”

What You Need To Know

  • Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley insisted Tuesday she’s not on the verge of dropping out of the race

  • Haley clarified her intentions during what her campaign called a “state of the race” speech in Greeville, South Carolina

  • The rest of the speech largely included familiar talking points from Haley’s campaign events, as she reiterated the reasons she's running for president and attacked President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump

  • Polls show Haley far behind Trump in South Carolina's Republican primary Saturday

Haley clarified her intentions during what her campaign called a “state of the race” speech. The scheduled address stirred some speculation that she might announce her exit from the race days ahead of the primary in the Palmetto State. 

“Some of you, perhaps a few of you in the media, came here today to see if I'm dropping out of the race,” the former Palmetto State governor said. “Well, I'm not. Far from it.”

The rest of the speech largely included familiar talking points from Haley’s campaign events. She reiterated she’s running for president to address issues such as education, cost of living, crime and U.S.-Mexico border security.

She attacked President Joe Biden on those issues as well as the wars in Ukraine and Middle East. Haley also criticized Trump for insulting military veterans, spending $50 million in campaign contributions on his legal fees, threatening donors who support Haley’s campaign and saying he would encourage Russia to attack NATO countries that did not meet their financial obligations to the alliance.

Haley grew emotional at one point when she talked about her husband Michael, who is deployed overseas with the South Carolina Army National Guard. Trump mocked her husband's whereabouts during a recent campaign event, telling a crowd: "What happened to her husband? Where is he? He’s gone."

"I wish Michael was here today, and I wish our children and I could see him tonight," she said Tuesday. "But we can’t. He's serving on the other side of the world, where conflict is the norm, where terrorists hide among the innocent, where Iran's terrorist proxies are now attacking American troops."

"As every military family knows, when a loved one deploys, we start the yearlong prayer," Haley added. "It's a prayer for their safety more than anything else, but it's also a prayer of gratitude. The kids and I know why Michael went. He stepped up to keep us safe, and not just us, he stepped up to defend our nation's freedom and our way of life. Michael is fighting for the country he loves, so are all of his brothers and sisters in arms wherever they're stationed in this dangerous world. They have made their stand because America is worth fighting and even dying for."

Haley also said she finds it was a concerning sign for the GOP that nearly half of voters did not support Trump in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

“It spells disaster in November,” she said. “We shouldn't silence those voters like Trump wants.”

She said giving voters a single choice in the primaries would be tantamount to a “Soviet-style election.”

“We don't annoint kings in this country,” Haley said. “We have elections. And Donald Trump, of all people, should know we don't rig elections.”

She also said polls show most voters do not want a Biden-Trump rematch in November. And Haley, who wants to require mental competency tests for federally elected leaders over age 75, said Biden, 81, and Trump, 77, are “too old” to be president.

“We both see them fumble their words and get confused about world leaders,” she said. “That's not who you want in the Oval Office when Russia launches a nuclear weapon at our satellites or China shuts down our electricity grid. We're talking about the most demanding job in human history.”

She offered an especially biting attack on Biden’s mental competency, saying, “Every time he opens his mouth, he sounds like his mind is closing up shop.”

The Trump campaign issued a preemptive statement on Haley’s speech Tuesday morning predicting her campaign will end after Saturday’s South Carolina primary. 

“Of course, like any wailing loser hell-bent on an alternative reality and refusing to come to grips with her imminent political mortality, we should expect more references to Kings and Coronations — even though the results of 5 elections overwhelmingly sent an unmistaken message: Nikki Haley doesn’t represent Republicans any more than Joe Biden does,” Trump campaign advisers Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles said. 

“The true ‘State’ of Nikki Haley’s campaign? Broken down, out of ideas, out of gas, and completely outperformed by every measure, by Donald Trump,” they added. 

According to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average, Trump is leading Haley in South Carolina, 63.6%-33.2%. 

Trump soundly defeated Haley in Iowa and New Hampshire. They competed in separate contests in Nevada -- Trump won the caucuses while voters in the state's primary picked "none of these candidates" over Haley.


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