Haley said she doesn’t feel bound by the RNC pledge to support the final nominee

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Nikki Haley breaks away from RNC pledge amid Trump’s dominance

Haley says she is not bound by the pledge she signed in 2023

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, said on Sunday that she does not feel bound by the pledge she signed in 2023 to support the party’s eventual nominee. Haley remarked during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press”, where she was asked if she would endorse former President Donald Trump if he wins the nomination.

“No, I think I’ll make what decision I want to make,” – Haley responded, adding that it’s “not something I’m thinking about,” amid a whirlwind campaign swing through several Super Tuesday states as she looks to hang on in the GOP primary contest that Trump has so far dominated¹.

Haley said she believes she is not beholden to the Republican National Committee pledge she took ahead of the primary debates, promising to support the party’s nominee — whoever that may be. “The RNC is now not the same RNC,” she said, referring to Trump’s influence over the party apparatus and his allies in key positions.

Trump, who declined to participate in any of the primary debates, did not sign the pledge. Since then, he’s moved to install allies — including top campaign aide Chris LaCivita and his daughter-in-law Lara Trump — atop the Republican National Committee¹.

Haley faces an uphill battle against Trump in the primary

Haley has managed to win a small number of delegates in a primary contest that has come down to a match-up between her and Trump, the former president who holds a runaway lead with 244 delegates to Haley’s 24. Trump has defeated Haley in every state, including her home state of South Carolina.

Though Haley has ramped up her attacks against Trump as the primary field has narrowed, she continues to say she is more concerned with winning the race herself than deciding who to back if she loses. “I’m running against him because I don’t think he should be president,” she said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” last month. “The last thing on my mind is who I’m going to support. The only thing on my mind is how we’re going to win this.”

Haley, who served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, has tried to appeal to both Trump supporters and critics within the party but has struggled to gain traction among either group. She has also faced criticism for her flip-flopping on Trump, whom she initially endorsed in 2016, then denounced after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2024, and then praised again in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February.

Haley’s future in the GOP is uncertain

Haley’s decision to distance herself from the RNC pledge could have implications for her future in the GOP, especially if Trump wins the nomination and the general election. Some analysts have speculated that Haley is positioning herself for a possible independent run or a 2028 bid, but both scenarios would be risky and challenging for her political career.

Haley has said she does not plan to run as an independent and has dismissed the idea of a third party as “a waste of time”⁵. She has also said she is not thinking about 2028 and is focused on the current race.

However, Haley’s chances of becoming the GOP nominee in 2024 are slim, according to Steve Kornacki, NBC News’ national political correspondent. Kornacki said Haley could get “buried in a delegate avalanche” on Super Tuesday when 14 states and one territory will hold their primaries and caucuses.

Haley’s break from the RNC pledge could also alienate some Republican voters and donors, who may see her as disloyal or opportunistic. Haley has already faced backlash from some Trump loyalists, who have accused her of being a “RINO” (Republican in name only) or a “traitor”.

Haley, however, has defended her stance, saying she is not anti-Trump, but pro-America. She has also argued that the GOP needs to broaden its appeal and offer a positive vision for the country, rather than relying on Trump’s divisive rhetoric and policies.

“I think the Republican Party is bigger than one person. I think the Republican Party is about ideas,” she said on “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “And I think we need to have a big tent party that can have room for everyone because that’s how we’re going to grow, that’s how we’re going to win, and that’s how we’re going to make a difference in people’s lives.”

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