Trump campaign targets Haley for first time on New Hampshire airwaves

Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign is taking direct aim at Republican rival Nikki Haley in a new advertisement airing in New Hampshire in a shift in strategy just weeks before the state’s primary.

The 30-second ad, viewed by NBC News, marks the first time the campaign has gone after Haley, a former Trump administration official, on the airwaves in the state ahead of its Jan. 23 primary.

The ad tries to connect Haley’s immigration positions with those of President Joe Biden by arguing that both opposed “Trump’s border wall” and “Trump’s visitor ban from terrorist nations.”

“Confirmed warnings of terrorists sneaking in through our southern border,” the ad’s narrator says. “Yet Haley joined Biden in opposing Trump’s visitor ban from terrorist nations. Haley’s weakness puts us in grave danger. Trump’s strength protects us.” 

Haley has defended banning entry for people from certain countries, saying at a debate last month that “it’s not about a religion; it’s about a fact that certain countries are dangerous and are threats to us.”

Haley’s momentum in New Hampshire has been reflected in the polls, though she’s still trailing Trump, the GOP front-runner. Nationally, an NBC News poll found Haley’s support among Republican voters nearly doubled from 7% in September to 13% in November.

Pro-Trump political action committees have taken to the airwaves in an effort to blunt Haley’s rising popularity, and Trump’s campaign focused two recent fundraising emails on attacking Haley, who served in the Trump administration as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Haley, who has said she would pardon Trump if he is convicted of federal crimes, regularly cites the PAC advertisements as a sign that Trump sees her as a contender who poses a real threat to his candidacy and has momentum to win.

“Two days ago, Donald Trump denied our surge in New Hampshire existed. Now, he’s running a negative ad against me,” Haley said Dec. 18 on X in response to a pro-Trump super PAC ad. “Someone’s getting nervous. #BringIt”

Amid earlier speculation about a possible Trump-Haley ticket, Haley has repeatedly said she doesn’t “play for second.”

“I never have, and I’m not going to start now,” she said at a campaign event.