Nikki Haley says she's not dropping out: 'I feel no need to kiss the ring' of Trump

Voters "deserve a real choice," she said.

ByHannah Demissie and Nicholas Kerr ABCNews logo
Tuesday, February 20, 2024 5:49PM
Haley says she's not dropping out: 'No need to kiss the ring'
South Carolina will hold its GOP primary, the next big race in the nomination fight, on Saturday.

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is vowing to stay in the 2024 Republican primary race despite being rejected by voters in the few early states so far and continuing to trail rival Donald Trump in numerous polls.

But as Haley said in a speech on Tuesday in South Carolina, her home state, she will be continuing her campaign because she believes her message is important and more voters deserve to be "heard."

"Of course, many of the same politicians who now publicly embrace Trump privately dread him. They know what a disaster he's been and will continue to be for our party. They're just too afraid to say it out loud," Haley told supporters in Greenville.

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign event on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Greer, S.C.
Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign event on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024, in Greer, S.C.
AP Photo/David Yeazell

"Well, I'm not afraid to say the hard truths out loud. I feel no need to kiss the ring. And I have no fear of Trump's retribution. I'm not looking for anything from him," she continued, drawing applause. "My own political future is of zero concern."

South Carolina will hold its GOP primary, the next big race in the nomination fight, on Saturday.

According to 538's polling average, Haley trails Trump by more than 30 points in South Carolina. She is behind by similar margins in other states.

Haley has repeatedly pointed to the fact that only a few states have voted so far in this year's GOP nominating race, though she has lost in every election so far -- including in Nevada, to "none of these candidates."

Haley made a similar case for herself during a campaign stop in Greer, South Carolina, on Monday night, telling her supporters she would stay in the GOP primary through Super Tuesday on March 5 and beyond.

"Go tell your family and friends that America's depending on what they do on Saturday," Haley said. "I promise you this, on Sunday, I'm headed to Michigan and then we're going to Super Tuesday states and we're going to keep on going."

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Republican presidential candidate former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, center, addresses members of the media Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, near a polling site at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, N.H.
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, center, addresses members of the media, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, near a polling site at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, N.H.
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)