Nikki Haley backs Trump in shock reversal: "I stand by what I said"

Washington DC - Former presidential hopeful Nikki Haley said Wednesday she will vote for Donald Trump in November's election, ending months of silence after quitting the contest to choose a Republican to face Joe Biden.

Nikki Haley (l.) said Wednesday she will vote for Donald Trump in November's election, after initially refusing to endorse the former president.
Nikki Haley (l.) said Wednesday she will vote for Donald Trump in November's election, after initially refusing to endorse the former president.  © Collage: Anna Moneymaker / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & Michael M. Santiago / POOL / AFP

The former South Carolina governor (52) abandoned her White House ambitions in March but had not previously indicated whether she would support the man who referred to her repeatedly as "birdbrain."

Yet she continued to scoop a significant chunk of votes in presidential primary contests – underlining a persistent refusal among a sizable bloc of Republicans to get behind Trump.

"I put my priorities on a president who's going to have the backs of our allies and hold our enemies to account, who would secure the border – no more excuses – a president who would support capitalism and freedom, a president who understands we need less debt not more debt," she said.

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"Trump hasn't been perfect on these policies. I've made that clear many, many times. But Biden has been a catastrophe. So I will be voting for Trump."

The tenacity of the Haley vote had prompted the media to refer to her ongoing presence on the primary stage, long after the curtain came down, as a "zombie campaign."

Trump (77) has failed to make inroads with Haley's moderate support and will see her public show of support as a huge boon ahead of the Republican nominating convention in July.

Trump has struggled to win over Haley voters

Nikki Haley (l.) served as the US Ambassador to the UN under Donald Trump's administration.
Nikki Haley (l.) served as the US Ambassador to the UN under Donald Trump's administration.  © OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP

The primaries laid bare Trump's key shortcoming – his lack of appeal among the moderates, independents, and voters with college degrees he will need to prevail against Biden.

Haley said, speaking Wednesday at an event for the Washington-based Hudson Institute conservative think tank, added that she was standing by her remarks urging Trump to make nice with her support base.

"Trump would be smart to reach out to the millions of people who voted for me and continue to support me and not assume that they're just going to be with him. And I genuinely hope he does that," she said.

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The Biden campaign had been reaching across the aisle, hoping to attract Haley voters.

It released a TV spot in April targeting the suburban battlegrounds with the message: "If you voted for Nikki Haley, Donald Trump doesn't want your vote."

Trump – who is considering several Republicans to be his running mate in November – indicated earlier in May that he is not considering Haley for vice president.

The 77-year-old real estate tycoon has everyone guessing about whom he will pick as his running mate in the November vote.

"Nikki Haley is not under consideration for the V.P. slot, but I wish her well!" Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.

Cover photo: Collage: Anna Moneymaker / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & Michael M. Santiago / POOL / AFP

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