'Everything Donald Trump does, we lose,' Nikki Haley tells supporters during Broad Street campaign stop

Virginia is one of 15 states holding their Presidential Primary on Super Tuesday — March 5
 Nikki Haley at campaign stop in Henrico County on Feb. 29, 2024.
Posted at 5:45 PM, Feb 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-02 10:15:29-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Fitting that on Leap Day, GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley asked a crowd of supporters and other Republicans to take a leap of faith and cast their ballots for her during Virginia's presidential primary on Tuesday.

"This is a decision between do we want more of the same, or do we want a new direction. More of the same is not just Joe Biden, more of the same is Donald Trump," Haley told the crowd of several hundred people at a crowded hotel ballroom off Broad Street.

Haley trails former President Donald Trump by significant margins in polling and delegate count from the states that have already held their nomination contest. The former U.N. Ambassador and Governor of South Carolina cast herself as someone who would bring the country and the Republican party back closer to "normal."

 Nikki Haley at campaign stop in Henrico County on Feb. 29, 2024.

During her address, Haley promised to rein in federal spending and work to end Congressional budgetary chaos, laid out her vision to fix the southern border crisis, and labeled herself as "pro-life" when it comes to abortion. However, she said others should not be judged for having a differing opinion.

Haley attempted to draw a contrast between herself and Trump throughout the speech, arguing beyond the myriad of legal challenges he faces, the former president has pulled down her party for years.

"We lost in 2018. We lost in 2020. We lost in 2022. Even a couple of weeks ago, we lost the vote on Israel; we lost the vote on the border; the RNC Chair lost her job. He had his fingerprints on all that. Everything Donald Trump does, we lose. And at some point maybe we need to say, 'Maybe Donald Trump is the problem,'" Haley said.

Haley also attacked both Trump and President Joe Biden for foreign policy decisions that created instability in the world which she claimed helped set the table for wars in Ukraine and in the Middle East, citing the U.S. withdraw from Afghanistan under Biden's watch and Trump's repeated comments on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"We can’t be a country in disarray and a world on fire and go through four more years of chaos," Haley said. "We won’t survive it."

Will Nikki Haley's battle strategy against Trump work?

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Meanwhile, Trump appears to be cruising toward the Republican nomination once again, after winning the Michigan primary easily and recently defeating Haley in her home state of South Carolina. State Senator John McGuire (R-Hanover) is on Trump's leadership team in Virginia and sees the former president's nomination as an inevitability.

“I’m excited to have Trump come to our hometown," McGuire said about rally in Richmond Saturday featuring Trump. "I think [Haley's] put up a valiant fight, but I think the writing is on the wall. Trump is up double digits in Virginia right now, and I’m excited about his rally on Saturday. She has a right to hold a rally and all that, but we hope she’ll drop out, she’ll endorse Trump, we’ll all unify as a party and go win in November.”

State Senator John McGuire (R-Hanover)
State Senator John McGuire (R-Hanover)

Meanwhile, President Biden continues to face scrutiny — both outside and inside his own party — for his handling of the Israel-Hamas war and his age. State Senator Lamont Bagby (D-Henrico) is backing Biden and not concerned about the president's fitness. Bagby said federal funding coming out of the pandemic helped keep many Virginians employed and afloat.

"I could care less about their age, more about what they can deliver. Compare Trump years to Biden years. Men lie, numbers don’t," Bagby said. “I’m excited about the position that we’re in. I hope we don’t go back.”

State Senator Lamont Bagby (D-Henrico)
State Senator Lamont Bagby (D-Henrico)

Haley and her team hope Virginia Republicans help turn the tide for their campaign. They have made the case that unlike Trump, in there view, Haley has a chance to beat Biden in the fall, if given the chance.

“In a general election, we’re given a choice. In a primary, we make our choice," Haley said Thursday.

Early voting in Virginia continues through Saturday, March 2. Virginia is one of 15 states holding their Presidential Primary on Super Tuesday — March 5.

You can learn more about voting in Virginia's presidential primary here.

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