Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., touted GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s “youth,” on Sunday and went after former President Trump’s age ahead of this week’s New Hampshire primaries, highlighting moments when Trump named Haley instead of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., while speaking about Jan. 6 during a rally over the weekend.
Norman, one of the few elected officials from South Carolina backing former South Carolina Gov. Haley, appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” stressing how Haley, at age 52, is 25 years younger than the 77-year-old Trump. “His policies were great. What he did was great for the country, particularly with what Biden is doing now,” Norman said of Trump, explaining why he’s now supporting Haley instead. “But it’s time for a change – I think the youth – Nikki just turned 52. She’s 25 years younger than Donald Trump.”
“I’m sorry,” he continued. “When you have a president, like, the pressures they’re going to be facing, when you see what they’re going to have to do to attract new talent into the Congress, in the Senate, you’ve got to go to work doing that. Nikki will do that. And, to the other big thing that people need to know, Donald Trump can only give you four years. It’s like a football team can only play half of the game. It’s going to take eight years to get this country straight. But Nikki’s youth and the fact is, she can give eight years. And I would also make the argument is really three years, because the last year of a term is political, like you’re seeing now. And President Trump is going to be tied up in, you know, legal fights.”
Norman argued that the only reason Trump is criticizing Haley now is “because she’s gaining in the polls and she, he knows, she is a serious threat. And it’s a two-person race now.”
Trump has argued that with Haley as president, the country would see eight years of war and has called her a globalist.
TRUMP MIXES UP NIKKI HALEY WITH NANCY PELOSI AT NEW HAMPSHIRE RALLY
Nikki Haley and former President Trump were both campaigning in New Hampshire over the weekend ahead of the primary. (Getty Images | AP)
“That’s just political talk,” Norman said, noting how Trump chose Haley to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “Donald Trump knows that. The same thing, you know, he got her confused yesterday with Nancy Pelosi on Jan. 6 with the National Guard. And I would say 25 years ago, he wouldn’t have made that mistake, but he kept saying, Nikki Haley did this, you know, with the National Guard. He was talking about Nancy Pelosi. And that’s another example of, you know, he wouldn’t have made that mistake if he was younger.”
Trump, while referring to the crowds at a rally in Concord, New Hampshire, Friday, brought up Haley when mentioning the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
“By the way, they never report the crowd on Jan. 6, you know, Nikki Haley. Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, you know, they did, you know, they destroyed all of the information and all of the evidence. Everything deleted it. Destroyed all of it. All of it because lots of things – like Nikki Haley is in charge of security. We offered 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guard. So whatever they want, they turned it down. They don’t want to talk about that. These are very dishonest people. But when I look over here, I am so honored. They said this is a quaint area, area of the state, but it’s quaint. We got a lot of people in this room, this an all time record,” Trump said, prompting applause.
Trump has long accused Pelosi of refusing National Guard support at the Capitol a day before the riot.
TRUMP: ALMOST EVERYBODY IN SOUTH CAROLINA HAS ENDORSED ME
Yet after the apparent mix-up, conservative voices on X championed the move.
“Trump just got the entire media to finally admit Nancy Pelosi was in charge of security on Jan 6,” Jack Posobiec, senior editor of Human Events, wrote to his 2.4 million followers.
At another rally Saturday in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump stressed how, “almost every politician from South Carolina is endorsing me,” while surrounded by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, the state’s lieutenant governor and other senior statewide officials, including the state’s attorney general, treasurer and House speaker, as well as U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson, William Timmons and Russell Fry on stage.
Campaigning elsewhere in the Granite State on Saturday, Haley had gone after Trump’s mental fitness, pointing to remarks he made on Friday.
South Carolina Gov Henry McMaster points toward former President Donald Trump during a campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
“They’re saying he got confused, that he was talking about something else, he’s talking about Nancy Pelosi,” Haley said Saturday, as she campaigned in Keene, New Hampshire. “He mentioned me multiple times in that scenario. The concern I have is – I’m not saying anything derogatory – but when you’re dealing with the pressures of the presidency, we can’t have someone else that we question whether they’re mentally fit to do this… We can’t.”
Speaking at a Bloomberg News forum on Saturday in Manchester, Haley campaign manager Betsy Ankney referenced Haley’s remarks and said Trump “made a pretty apparent gaffe last night.” “It’s a distinction without a difference. It’s Nikki and Nancy,” Trump campaign senior adviser Chris LaCivita said to reporters Saturday night. “What’s the difference?”
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At his rally Saturday night in Manchester, Trump said he took a cognitive test and “aced it.”
A day earlier, Sen. Tim Scott, who ended his own 2024 bid in November and was appointed to the Senate by Haley in 2012, endorsed Trump over Haley in a rousing call-and-response speech of his own in New Hampshire. Since entering the race nearly a year ago, Haley has advocated for “mental competency tests” for older politicians, a swipe at both Trump and President Biden. At age 81, Biden has drawn increasing concern over his mental and physical fitness, even from members of his own party raising eyebrows about his public appearances.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.