Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley raised concerns about Donald Trump’s mental acuity on Saturday, following an incident where he seemingly confused her with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi while discussing the January 6, 2021, assault on the US Capitol.
Haley addressed the issue, stating, “Last night, Trump is at a rally and he’s going on and on mentioning me several times as to why I didn’t take security during the Capitol riots. Why I didn’t handle January 6 better. I wasn’t even in DC on January 6. I wasn’t in office then.”
There were claims that Trump had been mistaken and was referring to Pelosi instead of Haley. However, Haley dismissed these assertions, saying, “They’re saying he got confused. That he was talking about something else. That he was talking about Nancy Pelosi. He mentioned me multiples times in that scenario.”
Expressing her concerns about Trump’s fitness for the presidency, she told voters in Keene, New Hampshire, “The concern I have is – I’m not saying anything derogatory, but when you’re dealing with the pressures of a presidency, we can’t have someone else that we question whether they’re mentally fit to do it.”
This comes in the wake of Trump’s remarks at a campaign rally in New Hampshire, where he stated, “By the way, they never report the crowd on January 6. You know, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley … did you know they destroyed all of the information, all of the evidence, everything, deleted and destroyed all of it? All of it, because of lots of things, like Nikki Haley is in charge of security, we offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, national guards, whatever they want. They turned it down.”
Later on the same day, Trump asserted his cognitive abilities, stating, “A few months ago I took a cognitive test my doctor gave me … and I aced it.” He added, “I’ll let you know when I go bad; I really think I’ll be able to tell you. Because someday we go bad. I feel my mind is stronger now than it was 25 years ago.”
A senior Trump campaign adviser, Chris LaCivita, downplayed the confusion, posting on X, “Nancy ….Nikki ….its a distinction without a difference.”
Despite the mix-up between Haley and Pelosi, Trump’s claim that the speaker of the House is responsible for US Capitol security is inaccurate, as previously fact-checked by CNN.
Haley further emphasized the need for top-tier individuals in leadership roles, stating in a Fox News interview, “We need people at the top of their game. I’m not saying that this is a Joe Biden situation, but I’m saying, are we really going to go and have two eighty-year-olds running for president?”
In the lead-up to the New Hampshire primary, Haley, aged 52, has been highlighting the age gap between herself and Trump, who is 77, as well as President Joe Biden, who is 81. She has also been advocating for term limits and mental competency tests for politicians over the age of 75.
Since the beginning of 2023, Haley and her supporters have invested nearly $28.6 million in advertising in New Hampshire, surpassing Trump and his allies who have spent about $14.4 million. However, in recent weeks, the margin between their advertising expenditures has narrowed. Since the start of the new year, Haley and her allies have spent around $9 million in New Hampshire, while Trump and his allies have spent approximately $8.5 million.
Trump’s campaign has treated Haley as a formidable contender in New Hampshire, evident in a series of attacks on social media and during a rally in the state.