Nikki Haley Drops Out of 2024 Presidential Race After Donald Trump Cleans Up on Super Tuesday

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

After Super Tuesday saw former President Donald Trump win all but one of the 17 primary races, Nikki Haley announced she is suspending her 2024 presidential campaign. She did not, however, endorse the forty-fifth president. 

On Wednesday’s show, Megyn was joined by National Review’s Rich Lowry to discuss Haley dropping out and what the unofficial start of the general election might look like.

Haley Drops Out

Voters in 16 states and one territory headed to the polls on Tuesday to vote in the 2024 presidential primary. Trump took 16 of those contests in decisive fashion, while Haley picked up her first and only state win in Vermont (she also won the Washington, DC, primary on Sunday).

Haley did not address supporters at all on Tuesday night, which started the speculation that she would be dropping out of the race. By Wednesday morning, the former United Nations ambassador made it official. 

Speaking in Charleston, South Carolina, Haley delivered brief remarks to confirm her exit. “I said I wanted Americans to have their voices heard. I have done that,” she said. “I have no regrets. And while I will no longer be a candidate, I will not stop using my voice for the things I believe in.”

Notably, she stopped short of endorsing Trump, instead challenging him to “earn the votes” of her supporters:

“I congratulate him and wish him well. I wish anyone well who would be America’s president. Our country is too precious to let our differences divide us. I have always been a conservative Republican and always supported the Republican nominee. But on this question, as she did on so many others, Margaret Thatcher provided some good advice when she said, ‘Never just follow the crowd, always make up your own mind.’ It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support him…”

While Haley left the door open for an endorsement down the line, Megyn questioned the decision to not do it immediately. “She’s a politician… They protect themselves and their political longevity,” she explained. “There’s zero chance she’s not going to ultimately endorse him and go back and kiss the ring, if she wants a political career.”

Lowry agreed that it would have made more sense to get it out of the way. “I would think she wants to run again in 2028… and she has to endorse him given that,” he said. “You’re not going to be the vice president, you’re not gonna be standing behind Donald Trump like Tim Scott with pompoms and all that, but just do it and get it over with.”

Biden vs. Trump

Trump, for his part, did not so much as acknowledge Haley during his victory speech at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday. He instead focused his attention on his presumed general election challenger:

“…They’re coming from rough places and dangerous places. And we had that shut down. We had everything going so beautifully. When Joe Biden goes to the beach because somebody on his staff thinks he looks very good in a bathing suit, until he can’t get his feet out of the sand or lift the chair, which weighs about nine ounces. Joe Biden, if he would have just left everything alone, he could have gone to the beach. He would have had a tremendous success at the border and elsewhere…”

Biden won all of the Democratic primaries on Super Tuesday except in American Samoa where a previously unknown candidate, Jason Palmer, pulled off a surprise upset. A closer look at the numbers shows that Biden is continuing to see the fallout of the ‘uncommitted’ vote. In the wake of the Michigan primary, ‘uncommitted’ received between 10 and 20 percent support in states like Minnesota and North Carolina.

The Biden campaign released nothing more than a written statement Tuesday night, though it made clear where the attention lies. “Tonight’s results leave the American people with a clear choice: Are we going to keep moving forward or will we allow Donald Trump to drag us backwards into the chaos, division, and darkness that defined his term in office,” it read.

So, what comes next? Reports indicate that Biden may be planning to make things personal. According to Axios, Biden has told those around him that he thinks Trump is “wobbly, both intellectually and emotionally” and “will explode if Biden mercilessly gigs and goads him.” One adviser told Axios that the president expects Trump to “go haywire in public.”

Of all the speculation about Biden’s 2024 strategy, Megyn found this report to be the most compelling. “This actually is a little bit more interesting to me because Trump does not like to allow attacks on him to pass un-responded to,” she said. “And I do think he has a history of proving he can be easily goaded into these fights.”

While Lowry said Trump “hates being criticized” and “can barely let anything go,” he thinks the Biden team overplayed its hand. “The problem though for the White House is having broadcasted this, maybe you create an extra incentive for… smart people around Trump to say, ‘Mr. President, don’t go there. See what they’re trying to do,'” he explained. “It’s never going to be perfect keeping Trump on message, but I think… it might be a little easier after this.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Lowry by tuning in to episode 739 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.