LOS ANGELES — After perhaps her worst result in her Republican primary campaign — finishing second to “None of These Candidates” in Nevada’s primary, in which the front-runner, former president Donald Trump was not competing — Nikki Haley unloaded on her own party, painting the day not as bad for her, but for Republicans.
In a post on social media Wednesday, Haley cast her party as mired in the same disorder that surrounds the man who has remade it in his image. She pointed to three events that all happened in the hours before her second-place finish: Republican setbacks in Congress over a border security bill; Ronna McDaniel’s announcement that she plans to step down as chair of the Republican National Committee; and an appeals court’s rejection of Trump’s claim that he is immune from prosecution on charges of trying to overturn the 2020 election results.
“Republicans keep doing the same thing and getting the same result: chaos. That’s the definition of insanity,” she wrote, adding that the “RNC imploded,” the “GOP House can’t pass ANYTHING” and “Trump lost another court case & threw another temper tantrum.”
The missive is the latest break between Haley and her party, as she has come to take a sharper and more combative approach toward Trump, seeking to oust him from his perch atop the Republican nominating contest.
In the Nevada primary Tuesday, Haley finished behind a “None of These Candidates” option on the ballot. She will technically win the contest anyway, as state election law says that “only votes cast for the named candidates shall be counted.” But the confounding result has denied her even a symbolic victory. Haley’s team has long said she did not spend any time or money in Nevada after the state party changed the rules to favor Trump, deciding to award all of the state’s 26 delegates to the winner of a caucus scheduled for Thursday.
Haley has continued to project confidence, saying that she will stay in the race until Super Tuesday, on March 5. But she remains far behind Trump in most state and national polls. In South Carolina, where she was governor and which will hold its primary Feb. 24, she trails him by roughly 30 percentage points. In California, a Super Tuesday state, and where she is set to appear for a rally Wednesday evening, she is down by more than 50.
Both on the campaign trail and in national interviews this week, Haley has continued to call for a new generation of leadership and criticized Trump for holding up a border security deal, calling the delays irresponsible and urging Congress to pass the legislation.
“The problem I have is — here you have President Trump telling Congress don’t pass anything until after the election,” she told an audience of 500 in Spartanburg, S.C. “We can’t wait.”
NEW YORK TIMES
McDaniel, RNC chairwoman, plans to step down
The chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, has told former president Donald Trump she is planning to step down shortly after the South Carolina primary on Feb. 24, according to two people familiar with the plans.
Trump is then likely to promote the chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, Michael Whatley, as her replacement, according to several people familiar with the discussions. Under the arcana of the committee’s rules, however, Trump cannot simply install someone. A new election must take place, and Whatley could face internal party dissent.
McDaniel has faced months of pressure, a campaign from Trump-allied forces to unseat her, and growing dissatisfaction and anxiety in the Trump camp about the strained finances of the RNC as the general election cycle begins early.
Trump likes Whatley for one overwhelming reason, according to people who have discussed him with the former president: He is “a stop the steal guy,” as one of the people described him. He endorses Trump’s false claims about mass voter fraud and Trump believes he did a good job delivering North Carolina, a 2020 swing state, to him.
Whatley has baselessly claimed that election security efforts from Republicans in North Carolina stopped Democrats from cheating. He is also currently the general counsel at the Republican National Committee and has endorsed efforts to develop new voting laws.
NEW YORK TIMES
Biden attends N.Y. fund-raisers for cash to fight Trump
President Biden was to attend a trio of fund-raisers hosted by New York doctors and financiers Wednesday, including Tiger 21′s Michael Sonnenfeldt and Willett Advisors chief executive Steve Rattner, as the president seeks to extend his cash advantage over Republican rival Donald Trump.
Biden’s dash for cash also includes a climate-focused event hosted by former Goldman Sachs Group managing director Lawrence Linden, along with his wife, Dana Linden, a journalist and philanthropist who works on Israeli issues.
Donors expected to attend the Lindens’ event include Bain Capital’s Josh Bekenstein, who is on the board of Yale University; Dan Tishman, who oversaw the construction of One World Trade Center; Reuben Munger of Vision Ridge Partners; Mark Gallogly, who has worked with the Biden administration on climate policy; and David Elenowitz of Zero Carbon Partners, according to a person familiar with the event.
Biden’s second event of the day will be hosted by Ramon Tallaj, a doctor on New York Mayor Eric Adams’s COVID-19 recovery task force who is chair of the nonprofit SOMOS Community Care. That event will be co-hosted by his wife, Ines Hernández Tallaj, according to information about the fund-raisers obtained by Bloomberg. New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Representative Gregory Meeks, and Nikul Patel of JPMorgan are among those expected to attend, according to a person familiar with the event.
Rattner’s wife, prominent Democratic fund-raiser and foreign policy expert Maureen White, will also be at the fund-raiser. Rattner’s Willett Advisors invests Michael Bloomberg’s personal and philanthropic assets. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.
The fund-raisers, which will largely be held during the afternoon, come after the president’s reelection campaign raised $97 million in the fourth quarter of 2023 and reported $117 million cash on hand.
The president has attended a series of high-dollar fund-raisers recently, including a trip last week to Miami and Palm Beach. He posted his best fund-raising month — since the launch of his reelection bid — in January, according to a campaign official.