Anti-Trump GOP Senators View Haley as Better than DeSantis to Take Down Trump

Republican presidential candidate former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley listens to Republican
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Anti-Trump Republican senators are beginning to view former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, rather than Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, as their best bet in defeating former President Donald Trump, according to reports.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is among those urging Republicans to unite behind an alternative to Trump, and at this point he appears to view that individual as Haley.

“She has better prospects than he does because her numbers are going up and his are coming down. Usually, you want to place your bet on someone who is doing better,” he said, according to the Hill.

Other Republican senators have also publicly acknowledged Haley as someone who is “starting to move ahead” in the race.

“I do believe that she’s starting to move ahead. To use the [Formula 1 racing] analogy, she’s probably in the P2 position now, moved up ahead of DeSantis,” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) said following the Koch family-backed PAC Americans for Prosperity backing the presidential hopeful.

“If DeSantis doesn’t perform in Iowa, and she does, then it sets her up for New Hampshire, and it becomes an interesting contest,” Tillis, who is not making an endorsement, continued, noting that DeSantis “peaked early and probably was playing it a little bit too safe at a time when he could have had a breakout moment.”

“Using a Florida, NASA analogy, I think the launch window has passed,” he added.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) agreed that Haley is seeing momentum at the right time in the race.

“After the Iowa caucuses, after New Hampshire, I think this will be narrowed down to a two-person race,” he said, adding that Haley has “momentum.”

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) also said Haley appears to be positioning herself as the alternate to Trump, asserting that she “acquitted herself really well in the debates, and I think has done well out on the stump.”

“Part of running for national office — especially in those early states — is relatability, and I think she’s got a good retail political style. Seems to be winning over some people,” he said.

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NBC News

These sentiments are not new, as establishment figures are beginning to more publicly rally around Haley.

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, for example, was recently caught attempting to steer presidential endorsements to Haley, urging Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), chairman of the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, to publicly support her.

“I think now is the time for a guy like you to endorse,” he reportedly wrote to Gallagher, who is not endorsing anyone in the race.“Plus, Her foreign policy/world views track closest to yours. She brings the most excitement. I like Ron, but don’t think he is the growth stock Niki [sic] is. Just following up per our talk [in] September. Go Packers!” he added.

The tension between the Haley campaign and DeSantis campaign is, indeed, heating up as the field continues to narrow, but neither of them have been able to put a dent in former President Donald Trump’s leads both nationally and in early primary states. But the race between the two is getting more intense, as Haley’s campaign is dropping millions in New Hampshire and Iowa as their respective election days draw closer.

According to RealClearPolitics, Haley is currently in second place in South Carolina, ahead of DeSantis, who is in third place. She is also in second place in New Hampshire, where DeSantis has dropped to fourth place. However, he has the edge in Iowa, leading Haley by an average of three points in the Hawkeye State.


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