Former presidential hopeful and senator from South Carolina, Tim Scott, fell victim to one of Donald Trump’s impromptu jokes this week at the New Hampshire Primary (January 23). The ex-president took to the stage after his win, alongside Vivek Ramaswamy and Tim Scott, to take aim at rival Nikki Haley.
Asking Scott, Trump said “she actually appointed you Tim, and think of it, you’re the senator of her state” before adding “and she endorsed me, you must really hate her”. But the real awkwardness came when Scott responded, “I just love you” before the former president called the senator “a great politician”.
The interaction has been shared several times on social media, with Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) calling it “humiliating” and “troubling”. X user (@AnnieForTruth) described Scott as “another loser that sold his soul to the devil”.
Talk show co-host and Republican commentator, Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) said it was “pretty amazing” how Scott could stand on the stage behind Trump “grinning like a Cheshire cat” as he attacked the woman who appointed him to the US Senate. She added “damn, he working hard for that VP spot”, a sentiment shared by many political pundits.
As governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley was responsible for Tim Scott’s appointment to the US Senate in 2013. This fact made Scott’s recent endorsement and pandering to the former president, even more shocking.
The uncomfortable exchange in New Hampshire came a week after Scott endorsed the former president ahead of the 2024 election. Having dropped out of the race in November, Scott’s endorsement pick has been highly anticipated, but not everyone expected it to be for Trump. His decision has been hailed a win for Trump but a significant blow for Nikki Haley.
In his statement of support for the former president, Scott said “we need a president who will unite our country, we need Donald Trump”.
After Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron DeSantis’ recent departures from the GOP presidential race, Nikki Haley is now the only one standing in Trump’s path to the Republican nomination. Despite losing to Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire, Haley remains a viable and popular candidate to many in conservative circles who cannot fathom another Trump term.
Trump has repeatedly attacked his rival most recently noting his shock that the former governor was “still hanging around” after coming third in the Iowa caucuses earlier this month.
In a statement, Haley responded to Scott’s surprise announcement saying “the fellas are gonna do what the fellas are gonna do”. She has assured supporters that “this race is far from over” and reminded voters that “there are dozens of states still to go” including in her home state of South Carolina next month.
Since dropping out of the race, Tim Scott, Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron DeSantis have all endorsed the former president, leaving many questioning their motivations. It is highly anticipated the ex-presidential hopefuls are after the VP spot on Trump’s ticket.
Edited by: Kaiyah Ellison
Photo credit: Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla
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