With Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott joining the Republican Primary and no major new outlet poll has showing former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley breaking 10% against Donald Trump, there is no logical explanation for Haley's refusal to criticize Trump, or her recent criticism of Ron DeSantis, labeling him as a "Mini Trump" without the charm.
Haley's appeasement of Trump has been obvious since she launched her campaign in February, when she refrained from making any notable criticisms of Trump. The closest Haley came to criticizing her former boss was when she stressed the need for younger leadership and expressed the need for closer scrutiny of elderly candidates.
"We'll have term limits for Congress, and mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75-years old," Haley said. She never criticized any policy decisions made by the former President, despite the fact she was the first high profile Republican to enter the primary after Trump declared his 2024 candidacy.
Trump knows from 2016 that his best shot to win the nomination is to divide and ultimately conquer the anti-Trump Republican voters. Trump faced 16 Republican opponents in 2016, including multiple long-established major names in the party who received millions from major donors. The large field fractured the opposition, allowing Trump to win primaries with mere pluralities through the vast majority of the primary campaign season.
According to Political Wire and the Rolling Stone, one Trump advisor has admitted that Trump is glad to see more candidates such as Vivek Ramaswamy join the 2024 Republican Primary, especially when they attack DeSantis and lay off Trump, the strategy Ramaswamy has employed to date. An excerpt from Political Wire reads:
“The explanation for the former president’s interest in Ramaswamy’s campaign is simple: The insurgent candidate has spent much of his run for office trashing Trump’s top rival, DeSantis. As Ramaswamy’s poll numbers and standing in the primary have risen a bit in recent weeks, so has Trump’s interest. The former president has praised him both publicly and privately, offered encouragement for his White House bid, and has even told Ramaswamy how good-looking he is.” one Trump adviser bluntly tells Rolling Stone that ‘of course’ it’s a ‘total rat [explicit]‘