A black and white image of Nikki Haley with campaign signs and primary colors photoshopped in

Andrea Austria / Media Matters | Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons

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After New Hampshire, a right-wing media chorus tells Nikki Haley: “Drop out”

Calling her a “big fat loser” who’s “burning money” to put off her “obvious” defeat, conservative media suggest Haley’s ongoing campaign might even be a Democratic plot

On January 23, former President Donald Trump won the New Hampshire GOP primary, defeating former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley by 11 points. As Haley’s campaign has gone from an afterthought to Trump’s final major competitor, media supporters of the former president have ramped up their previous attacks, which are now cresting with a chorus of right-wing media figures demanding that Haley — who they also say is a liberal in Republican’s clothing — quit the race. 

Her ongoing campaign is just “burning money” and “prolonging the inevitable,” they say, when the time has come to “unite the party.” Some have been borderline polite, calling on the ambassador to “do the right thing,” while others have pleaded for someone to “tell this loser to drop out” already.

Although Haley outperformed the New Hampshire polls, her decisive defeat among an independent-heavy primary electorate suggests that she is likely to lose the next contest, in her Trumpier home state of South Carolina. 

Haley’s right-wing critics have latched onto a similar argument, suggesting that even her distant second-place showing, delivered largely by non-Republican voters, shows that she’s a “major media psy-op” meant to undermine Trump and that she’s a “Democrat plant” who “cheated in New Hampshire” like President Joe Biden cheated Trump in 2020 (he didn't.) 

Haley being roped into false accusations of Democrats stealing elections, simply for staying in the race, highlights the prevalence of 2020 election lies in the 2024 landscape, and some major headwinds Haley faces in her longshot attempt. 

“President Trump’s had the election stolen from him,” said former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, in a recent comment reflecting the opinion of most Republican voters. “We’ve got to sort this thing out, with President Trump.”

  • Right-wing media call on Haley to drop out

    • Fox News anchor Dana Perino mused that Trump will need Haley’s votes and it is time to “unite the party” behind President Trump. She told viewers: “Everyone on the Republican side is going to have to say, alright well, if we get behind President Trump, can we all do that?” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 1/23/24]
    • Newsmax host Chris Plante: Haley could be “hoping against hope” that Trump goes to prison, “so voters will see Trump as unelectable. … That’s the Democrat approach to politics.” Plante also said Haley is “single-handedly preventing the Republican Party from unifying. … This is going to be a permanent mark on her record.” [Newsmax, Chris Plante The Right Squad, 1/24/24
    • As results from the primary came in, Fox News’ Leo Terrell posted a photo of Haley with the caption: “Someone tell this loser to drop out!” [Twitter/X, 1/23/24]
    • Conservative activist Will Chamberlain posted a meme along with the caption, “Happy Nikki Haley loses day!” [Twitter/X, 1/23/24]
    • Right-wing influencer Terrence K Williams called Haley a “BIG FAT LOSER” and mocked her for staying in the race. He posted, “She is refusing to drop out! She loves burning money.” [Twitter/X, 1/23/24]
    • Right-wing influencer Ian Miles Cheong posted “Haley must go” the day before the New Hampshire primary. [Twitter/X, 1/22/24]
    • Right-wing activist Alex Bruesewitz posted on X that Haley “should do the right thing & drop out so we can unite and take the fight to Joe Biden.” [Twitter/X, 1/23/24]
    • On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Fox News host Laura Ingraham said that Haley is prolonging the inevitable and reiterated the advice she gave to Haley and former presidential candidate Ron DeSantis after Iowa: “Drop out.” Ingraham continued, saying, “Haley is finished and prolonging the obvious is just ensuring that she has no political future,” quipping that Haley may have a political future, “if you think Liz Cheney has a bright political future.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 1/22/24]
    • On the day of the New Hampshire primary, conservative author Liz Wheeler claimed that “Nikki Haley has been woke lately.” Wheeler added in her post on X (formerly Twitter) that Haley is “literally wooing Democrats to beat Trump in New Hampshire.” [Twitter/X, 1/23/24]
    • Right-wing radio host Mark Levin attacked Haley for flip flopping on anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, saying, “Let me put it bluntly. Nikki Haley is now bought and paid for by our political enemies.” He claimed Haley is worse than a RINO (a Republican in name only), because of her ties to anti-Trump groups. [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 1/22/24]
    • Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren posted on X, “Would I be shocked to discover Nikki Haley is a Democrat plant? No.” [Twitter/X, 1/23/24]
    • The Federalist published a blog titled, “Nikki Haley Is Wooing Her Actual Constituents In New Hampshire: Democrats And Neocons.” The blog claimed that Haley voters “aren’t coming over to the GOP side so much as infiltrating the Republican primary to skew the results against Trump.” [The Federalist, 1/22/24]
    • “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec said an “infiltration” of Democrat voters in the New Hampshire Republican primary are causing the media to praise Haley. He told Charlie Kirk, “We are witnessing in real time, the birth of a major media psy-op.” [Twitter/X, 1/24/24]
    • Right-wing podcaster Kyle Becker claimed the “Democrats CHEATED in New Hampshire tonight” due to the open primary and cited that, “Nikki Haley only got 26% of her vote from Registered Republicans.” He then pushed election fraud claims, saying, “Are we supposed to believe they didn't cheat in 2020? And they won't cheat in 2024? All they do is cheat.” [Twitter/X, 1/23/24]