Former President Donald Trump did an interview on Thursday with radio host Hugh Hewitt, where he addressed rumored reports that former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley sought to be nominated as his vice presidential running mate back in 2020. Trump wouldn’t come out and address the question head-on, but did say he didn’t want to embarrass Haley, who he referred to as being “overly ambitious.”
This seems to be one of those cases where refusing to come out and provide an answer to a question is more or less answering the question. And the fact that he called her overly ambitious also points to an affirmative response to the rumors going around that she asked for the nomination. If Trump would have chosen her as his running mate, that would have been highly, highly unusual. For the most part, when a president runs for reelection, it’s assumed the current vice president will be on the ticket as well.
Though it wouldn’t have been super surprising to see Trump choose someone else for the job. We know that at times, the relationship between Pence and Trump was strained, more so after he refused not to confirm the 2020 presidential election results. And Trump had a reputation for having a rotating door of individuals work for him in his administration in various positions.
Here’s a partial transcript from the interview on Hewitt’s program via Breitbart:
TRUMP: Now in the case of Nikki Haley, she’s gone around publicly. You saw this all over the place.
TRUMP: And she said I’ll never run against my president. He’s a great president. He’s been our greatest president. I’ll never run. I’ll never run. But Nikki suffers from something that’s a very tough thing to suffer from. She’s overly ambitious.
HEWITT: You know, Mike Pompeo says in his book that she asked you to become the Vice President in place of Mike Pence in the 2020 election. Is that true?
TRUMP: It’s absolutely false. That who asked me? Nikki Haley asked me to be Vice President?
HEWITT: Yeah, that’s in, according to John Kelly. That didn’t happen?
TRUMP: Can you imagine? That I would run as Vice President to Nikki Haley?
HEWITT: No, no, Nikki Haley asked you if she could be your vice presidential nominee in 2020.
TRUMP: Oh, I thought you said that she asked me if I’d be her vice president. That would be, that would be a big story.
HEWITT: No, no. Did she…
TRUMP: If anybody would say yes, I did, you should immediately take that person off your list as ridiculous. Okay, no, I did not ask her at all to be vice president. Nope, never mentioned it to her.
HEWITT: And she didn’t bring it up to you?
TRUMP: I don’t want to say that. I’m not going to embarrass her, but I have never asked her to be vice president.
Tell me Haley asked for the vice presidential nomination without telling me Haley asked for the vice presidential nomination. Makes you wonder how Haley is going to respond to this, if she acknowledges it at all.