Nikki Haley pressed her attack on Donald Trump’s age and mental fitness over the weekend as she seeks an upset win in the New Hampshire Republican primary.
“He’s just not at the same level he was in 2016,” the former South Carolina governor said Sunday of Trump on CBS’s Face the Nation. “I think we’re seeing some of that decline.”
Haley, 52, has mostly steered clear of strong attacks on the 77-year-old former president, whom she served as United Nations ambassador. But she seized on Trump’s mental acuity after he repeatedly appeared to confuse her with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a rally on Friday night.
Her shift in tone comes as the critical vote looms Tuesday, with a new CNN poll showing Trump holds 50% of support among likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire versus 39% for Haley.
On CBS, Haley ticked off “multiple” examples of Trump possibly being “confused.”
“He claimed that Joe Biden was going to get us into World War II. I’m assuming he meant World War III,” she said. “He said that he ran against President Obama. He never ran against President Obama. He says that I’m the one that kept security from the Capitol on January 6th, I was nowhere near the Capitol on January 6th.”
“Don’t be surprised if you have someone that’s 80 in office, their mental stability is going to continue to decline,” Haley said.
“It should be enough to send us a warning sign,” she said. “Joe Biden, he’s very different than he was two years ago.”
Biden, 81, added his voice to the tumult over Trump’s repeated assertions Haley was responsible for security on Jan. 6.
“I don’t agree with Nikki Haley on everything, but we agree on this much: She is not Nancy Pelosi,” Biden said on X, formerly Twitter.
I don’t agree with Nikki Haley on everything, but we agree on this much: She is not Nancy Pelosi. pic.twitter.com/hjNgmcrwAP
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 21, 2024
New Hampshire so far presents the strongest opportunity for Haley to upset Trump, owing to the state’s more moderate electorate and the ability of undeclared voters to participate in the GOP primary.
Read more: Haley Doesn’t Need Tuesday Win to Sustain Bid, Sununu Says
But even if she defies the polls and wins in New Hampshire, Haley faces a steep climb toward the GOP nomination. Other polls show Trump dominating around the nation, including in her home state of South Carolina. That primary is on Feb. 24.