When a handful of potential Republican presidential hopefuls convene on Thursday for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), there will be one notable absence from the speaking lineup: Nikki Haley.
Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a potential 2024 White House contender, has found herself isolated from former President Trump and the populist wing of the GOP that he commands after a scathing interview with Politico in which she denounced her former boss and wrote off his future influence in Republican politics.
The fallout from Haley’s remarks underscores the risks associated with her strategy of criticizing Trump’s actions and establishing a separate political identity while at the same time trying to appeal to his base of supporters.
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“It’s a very fine line to walk for a long way between now and the Republican convention in 2024,” said Alex Conant, a GOP consultant and former adviser to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
“Trump might run again, so you have to treat him as a potential competitor. But even if he doesn’t, he wants influence over who the party picks, and loyalty is what he values more than anything else. So it’s hard to build your own identity separate from him while maintaining loyalty and his support.”
Trump declined her request last week for a face-to-face meeting at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. He has indicated that he will exact revenge on Republicans whom he believes have crossed him, throwing Haley’s future political ambitions into uncertain territory. Read more at The Hill