DERRY, N.H. — Two days before the New Hampshire primary, GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley is leaning into criticism of her rivals’ ages.
“Do we really want to have two presidential candidates in their 80s?” she rhetorically asked a crowd of New Hampshire voters in Derry. “No!” a few people in the crowd yelled back.
A woman in the crowd interrupted Haley’s references to age, critical of Haley’s snipes. The former South Carolina governor quickly clarified that mental competency is important at any age, suggesting again that mental competency tests in Congress should be considered.
“This is the most pressured job in the country. You can’t make a mistake,” she said.
Haley then leaned into former President Trump’s recent gaffe, where he appeared to mix her up with former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in reference to security issues on Jan. 6, suggesting that it was Haley who was in charge instead of Pelosi.
“Trump goes on and on, multiple times, saying that I prevented the security on January 6 at the Capitol. I wasn’t even anywhere near the Capitol. I wasn’t in office,” Haley said. “The reality is that he was confused. He was confused the same way that Joe Biden was going to start World War II. He was confused the same way that he said he ran against President Obama.”
In the past few days, the former U.N. ambassador has dropped any reluctance toward criticizing her former boss on the campaign trail. She is now leaning into attacking Trump, especially on his age and his spending in office. She also referenced a recent poll showing that 70 percent of Americans don’t want a rematch between Biden and Trump, a poll that she has mentioned at least twice in the past few days.
Haley has cut Trump’s lead in half in New Hampshire in the past two months. Trump is currently leading Granite State polls by 11 points, according to The Hill and Decision Desk HQ’s polling average. Two months ago, that lead was 22 points.