Rachel Maddow Says Nikki Haley Is Auditioning to Be Trump’s ‘Understudy’: ‘A Humiliating Thing’ | Video

Despite her South Carolina loss, Haley has pledged to stay in the GOP primary as the former president faces multiple trials

Rachel Maddow offered a fresh take on why Nikki Haley is still in the GOP nominee race ahead of the 2024 presidential campaign, just ahead of polls closing and the former South Carolina governor losing Saturday’s primary in her home state. As Maddow put it, “There are a whole bunch of people auditioning to be his vice president. Nikki Haley is essentially auditioning not to be his vice president, but to be his understudy.”

“He’s very incoherent on the stump right now,” Maddow continued. “His speeches are getting weirder and harder to follow, he’s getting more and more extreme. His legal liability, his legal jeopardy, the consequences of his legal entanglements, are getting more and more extreme, and more, honestly, worrying, in terms of what that might mean for somebody who might be holding the presidency.”

“All of this stuff is kind of closing in on Trump, and I think Nikki Haley has decided, ‘Listen, this is a humiliating thing and I’m never going to be his running mate if he’s the nominee, but somebody ought to be standing there knowing the lines and able to step in with a functioning, funded campaign in case one of these meteors that keeps hitting Trump actually knocks him out.’”

“So it does feel like an understudy race,” Maddow added. She speculated that maybe Haley could pull things out if the numbers end up showing her not losing as badly as predicted. “There does feel like there’s some dynamism tonight — maybe Haley can do a little bit of what she did in New Hampshire, where she got within 11 points of him, pull something together with Democrats and independent voters like she has in the past.”

“Maybe her home state favorability will help her here, but you know, that’s sort of dynamism on the edges. The big question is: what’s going to happen to the prohibitive frontrunner?”

Trump and Haley faced off in the latter’s home state’s primary Saturday, with Trump declared the projected winner with 54.9% of the vote to Haley’s 44.5%.

Trump currently faces a mountain of legal issues and owes at least $455 million to the state of New York for civil fraud, and to author E. Jean Carroll, whom he was found to have sexually assaulted and defamed. He has other additional federal indictments against him.

Haley is the last major GOP challenger that Trump faces, and she has lost each primary race the pair have gone head to head in so far. Despite those losses, Haley has vowed to stay in the race. On Tuesday, she told a crowd in Greenville, South Carolina, “South Carolina will vote on Saturday, but on Sunday I will still be running for president. I’m not going anywhere.”

Watch Rachel Maddow’s commentary in the video above.

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