ROCK HILL, S.C. — Former President Donald Trump’s supporters scoffed at the potential for former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to be his running mate in 2024 when speaking to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday.

Trump has named several potential contenders to be his vice presidential running mate without definitively ruling out Haley, while the former governor insists she doesn’t have aspirations to be his No. 2. The day before Haley’s home state primary, attendees of Trump’s rally in Rock Hill hand-waved the idea of him considering the former governor for the position, and told the DCNF various reasons why they oppose such a decision.

“I think she’s a RINO, I think she’s a Trojan Horse, she’s Democrat-backed,” Kristen Hanrath of Lake Wiley told the DCNF. “I don’t trust her as far as I can throw her.”

The 52 year old owns an interior paint business, and voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020. Hanrath told the DCNF she doesn’t believe Haley “made an impact” when she was governor from 2011 to 2017.

Christina Difiore of Rock Hill, a 48-year-old chauffeur, believes Haley is too left-leaning to be Trump’s running mate.

“I think that she has talked too much about being so on the other side, far-left, that she has exposed who she really is, and she’s really been discredited, and did it to herself,” Difiore told the DCNF. “If anything were to happen to him, I would definitely not want her to run our country.”

Difiore floated Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Tim Scott of South Carolina instead, as well as GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. The driver described herself as an independent voter who is “very conservative,” and told the DCNF she supported Trump both cycles.

Haley has attracted many moderate and left-leaning individuals during her presidential run, and won a majority of self-identified Democrats in the New Hampshire primary. Trump launched various attacks at Haley over her appeal with the Democratic base during his speech, where he urged South Carolinians to turn out for him on Saturday.

Democrats are allowed to vote in Saturday’s primary, as the state doesn’t register its voters by party affiliation. The state held its Democratic primary on Feb. 3, where President Joe Biden overwhelmingly won.

Jared Metz, a 23 year old who lives in Matthews, North Carolina, slammed Haley for wanting to raise the retirement age for young individuals.

“She’s Mitt Romney in 2024 — she’s a fucking Democrat in disguise,” said Metz. “I hope [Trump] doesn’t turn around and make her VP, cus that would suck.”

Metz prefers former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy to be Trump’s running mate, and argued the 38-year-old could relate more to his generation. The North Carolinian, who supported the former president in 2020, said he’s most concerned about housing affordability, interest rates and inflation.



Romonte Haymer, a 35-year-old Tennessean who came to support Trump on Friday, said there’s “no chance” he’d want the former president to tap Haley for the position.


“There is a big difference between being a servant for the people and serving yourself,” Haymer told the DCNF. “Unfortunately, I think we’ve seen too many candidates get into office for long periods of time and of course, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. She has been corrupted. And we saw that from her tenure as the governor of South Carolina, as well, with Boeing. And then after getting out of office, getting on board. In my opinion, sure, there may not be any impropriety. But as a voter, no matter where I’m from, that looks and reeks of corruption, to me.”

Haley supported policies that awarded Boeing over $1 billion in tax-payer funded benefits as an elected official in South Carolina. Following her departure as U.N. ambassador in the Trump administration, Haley served on Boeing’s board for roughly a year, where she raked in thousands.

Haymer, a Republican roofing salesman, is also opposed to the former governor being Trump’s running mate because “she’s a war hawk,” he argued.

Haley’s campaign touted her record as governor in response to the voters’ sentiment, and took a shot at the former president in turn.

“South Carolinians know that Nikki Haley cut their taxes, passed one of the toughest illegal immigration bills in the country, implemented voter ID, and created tens of thousands of jobs in every county in the state,” AnnMarie Graham-Barnes, spokesperson for the Haley campaign, told the DCNF in a statement. “While she was delivering on conservative promises, Trump was donating to Kamala Harris. He’s not conservative enough to be her vice president.”

Mark Lyons, a retired software business-owner who lives across the state line in North Carolina, disagreed with his fellow Trump supporters, and told the DCNF he’d “love to see her on the ticket with him.”

The RealClearPolitics average for the South Carolina GOP primary, based on polls conducted between Feb. 13 and Feb. 18, indicates Haley is down by 25 points against Trump in her home state. The former governor has the support of nearly all of South Carolina’s top Republicans, including Gov. Henry McMaster and all but one of the state’s congressional delegation.

Haley came in third place in Iowa, second in New Hampshire and lost to “None of These Candidates” in the Nevada primary, where she did not compete for delegates.

Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

Mary Lou Masters on February 23, 2024

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