Former president Donald Trump caused quite the stir over the weekend when he decided to launch a new attack against his one remaining GOP primary opponent, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley. During a rally on Saturday, Trump repeatedly asked where Haley’s husband was, which on its face seemed to be a question regarding why Major Michael Haley is not on the campaign trail with his wife.
“Then she comes over to see me at Mar-a-Lago. ‘Sir, I will never run against you.’ She brought her husband. Where’s your husband? Oh, he’s away. He’s away. What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband? Where is he? He’s gone! He knew. He knew,” Trump said.
Of course, Major Haley is a National Guardsman and is currently on deployment in Djibouti, a country in the Horn of Africa. About a week before Trump’s remarks, the New York Times published an article rhetorically asking where Major Haley was and digging into his background.
“Despite this prominence, Major Haley himself remains something of a blank slate,” the Times reported. “He has avoided the intense scrutiny, as well as the public speaking, photo ops and interviews, that comes with campaigning.”
Haley responded to Trump’s attacks during her own rally in South Carolina, asserting, “I am proud of Michael’s service. Every military spouse knows it’s a family sacrifice… If you mock the service of a combat veteran, you don’t deserve a driver’s license, let alone being president of the United States.” She subsequently hit back at the former president on X.
Several political strategists expressed disgust at Trump’s comments, while others thought they might be a smokescreen intended to indirectly bring up recent affair allegations made by the Daily Mail. Such accusations have been floating around Haley for years, and the Daily Mail in January published the affidavits from two men signed in 2010 detailing the alleged affairs. The Mail also spoke to multiple sources who told them the affairs were quite brazen and an open secret in South Carolina politics.
The Mail speculated that Trump might have been referring to the alleged affairs when he intoned that Major Haley “knew.” NBC News noted that Haley “did not offer a theory of what Trump meant when he said, ‘He knew.’”
On our radar
HOW BIDEN BOTCHED THE BORDER Axios reported Monday morning on the “in-fighting, blame-shifting and indecision” that has come to define Biden’s border policy. According to multiple sources, policy advisor Susan Rice called HHS secretary Xavier Becerra a “bitch-ass” over his handling of migrant shelters.
AUSTIN ADMITTED Defense secretary Lloyd Austin is back in critical care at Walter Reed Hospital due to an “emergent bladder issue,” the Pentagon said. Austin has been undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, a condition he failed to disclose to the White House or the NSC for about a month.
POLL WATCH An ABC News/Ipsos poll found that 86 percent of voters believe Biden is too old to serve as president, including 73 percent of Democrats; 59 percent believe both Trump and Biden are too old to serve.
How sorry is RFK Jr. for his Super Bowl ad?
“I’m so sorry if the Super Bowl advertisement caused anyone in my family pain,” RFK tweeted. “The ad was created and aired by the American Values Super PAC without any involvement or approval from my campaign. FEC rules prohibit Super PACs from consulting with me or my staff. I love you all. God bless you.”
Kennedy’s apology distancing himself came after his cousin Bobby Shriver had tweeted, “My cousin’s Super Bowl ad used our uncle’s faces — and my Mother’s. She would be appalled by his deadly healthcare views. Respect for science, vaccines & healthcare equity were in her DNA. She strongly supported my health care work at @ONECampaign & @RED which he opposes.”
His brother Mark Shriver agreed.
Yet clearly RFK can’t be all that sorry: the ad is currently pinned to the top of his X profile. The Independent candidate is polling at 7 percent nationally — and has declared his openness to being the Libertarian Party’s nominee, which would grant him greater ballot access.
“I think that my family name is certainly a huge advantage,” he told The Spectator when we profiled him for our June 2023 cover story. “Name-recognition is an advantage in any kind of democratic contest. And my name is one of the most recognizable in modern political history.”
Former president Donald Trump retold a story to an audience of supporters Saturday that angered foreign policy wonks in the capital and leaders throughout Europe.
The story, as Trump recalled, involved a conversation with a “large” NATO ally. As the country sought military assurances from the former president, he responded that he would let Russia do “whatever the hell they want” if the country in question was not meeting the agreed spending benchmark.
The White House labeled the remarks “appalling and unhinged.” Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz called relativizing the mutual defense clause “dangerous.” Polish prime minister Donald Tusk joined in, saying that the “All for one, and one for all!” ideal should not be abandoned.
Dozens of others have shared their indignation, including Ambassador John Bolton, who said that “People need to take Donald Trump seriously when he says he wants to get out of NATO. It’s a very real threat that will have dramatically negative implications not just for the US but for all nations.”
But Daniel DePetris writes on our website today, “While Americans may not want the US to get out of NATO, they do find it objectionable that the US is doing most of the legwork in keeping Europe whole, free and at peace.”
–Juan P. Villasmil