Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Saturday questioned Donald Trump’s mental fitness after he appeared to confuse her with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when talking about the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.
“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,” Haley said.
“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,” the former South Carolina governor added.
Haley told a crowd of 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.”
Her comments come after Trump said at a campaign rally in New Hampshire, “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 Saturday, Trump boasted about his cognitive abilities, saying, “A few months ago I took a cognitive test my doctor gave me … and I aced it.”
“I’ll let you know when I go bad; I really think I’ll be able to tell you. Because someday we go bad,” he said at a campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire. “I feel my mind is stronger now than it was 25 years ago.”
A senior Trump campaign adviser, Chris LaCivita, posted on X Saturday, “Nancy ….Nikki ….its a distinction without a difference.”
Beyond confusing Haley with Pelosi, Trump’s contention that the speaker of the House is responsible for US Capitol security is not accurate, as CNN previously fact-checked.
“We need people at the top of their game,” Haley said in a Fox News interview Saturday. “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 days before Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, Haley, 52, has sought to highlight her age gap with Trump, 77, and President Joe Biden, 81. She has also been adamant about calling for term limits and mental competency tests for any politician over the age of 75.
Since the start of 2023, Haley and her allies have spent nearly $28.6 million on advertising in New Hampshire, while Trump and his allies have spent about $14.4 million.
But in recent weeks, the gap between Haley and Trump’s advertising has narrowed. Since the start of the new year, Haley and her allies have combined to spend about $9 million in New Hampshire, while Trump and his allies have spent about $8.5 million.
For weeks, Trump’s campaign has treated Haley as a serious threat in New Hampshire — and the candidate himself made that clear with a series of attacks on social media and at a rally in the state.
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.
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