Donald Trump missed an opportunity after winning New Hampshire’s GOP presidential primary against Nikki Haley on Tuesday, according to a conservative commentator for CNN.
“He made a mistake last night,” Scott Jennings said Wednesday on the network.
“He could’ve walked out there and just said: ‘This race is over. I appreciate all my opponents. I appreciate Ambassador Haley. All Republicans are welcome to join. Let’s go beat [Democratic incumbent] Joe Biden,’” added Jennings, a former aide to President George W. Bush.
“And he just couldn’t do it.”
Haley, Trump’s onetime United Nations ambassador, gave an upbeat speech after her 11-point loss, criticizing the former president and vowing to continue her campaign through next month’s primary in her home state of South Carolina.
In the days prior to the New Hampshire vote, she had stepped up her criticism of Trump, questioning his mental acuity. The tactic appeared to get under his skin, as Trump’s victory speech was filled with grievances and insults directed at the former South Carolina governor.
“The Haley people went out and spoke early to try to bait him into that reaction. And he took the bait,” Jennings said on CNN. “Now we’re going to fight it out … for another month.”
He added, “It was a strategic mistake.”
During the victory speech, Trump fumed that Haley hadn’t dropped out of the 2024 race, commented on the way she dressed and said, “I don’t get too angry — I get even.”
The Haley campaign responded by mocking his “angry rant.”
“This is why so many voters want to move on from Trump’s chaos and are rallying to Nikki Haley’s new generation of conservative leadership,” a Haley spokesperson said.
Trump didn’t seem to have cooled off by Wednesday, with his criticism of Haley only increasing in vitriol. In one social media tirade, he said that anyone who donates to the Haley campaign would be “permanently barred” from his “Make America Great Again” movement.