The super PAC backing Donald Trump for the Republican nomination released a new ad Monday attacking 2024 rival Nikki Haley over comments she made about illegal immigration while governor of South Carolina.
The ad by Make America Great Again Inc. will be released in New Hampshire as the race between the former president and ex-ambassador to the United Nations heats up in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
“Drug traffickers. Rapists. Poisoning our country. But Nikki Haley refused to call illegals ‘criminals.’ Illegals are criminals, Nikki. That’s what illegal means,” intones the narrator of the MAGA Inc. ad.
“Haley even opposed Trump’s wall and Haley repeatedly pushed amnesty for illegals. Nikki Haley: too weak, too liberal to fix the border,” the narration conclues.
The ad also features a 2015 clip of Haley saying: “We don’t need to talk about them as criminals. They’re not.”
Haley’s campaign fired back Monday, saying Trump was “trying” to staunch her momentum and rise in the polls.
Consecutive surveys from the same pollster have shown Haley, 51, within four percentage points of Trump in New Hampshire. Amid her rise, both MAGA Inc. and the Trump campaign have ratcheted up their attacks on the former South Carolina governor.
“When Donald Trump was still a Hillary Clinton-supporting liberal, Nikki Haley passed one of the toughest anti-illegal immigration laws in the country,” Haley communications director Nachama Soloveichik said in a statement. “This is clearly a two-person race between Trump’s debunked lies and Nikki’s vision for a strong and proud America.”
Haley’s campaign also said the Trump ad is full of “lies” about her record.
The 2015 clip of Haley saying those who cross the border illegally are not “criminals” is out of context from her saying “that not every illegal immigrant is a hardened criminal, but they still have to follow the law,” the campaign claimed.
Haley backers say she supported not only building a wall along the US-Mexico border, but also supplementing it with border agents and other infrastructure.
“Don’t say you’re just going to build a wall. Because a wall is not going to do it. You’ve got to have commitment of ground troops, equipment, money, all of that to bring it together. Then you’re being serious about tackling illegal immigration,” Haley said in 2015.
Haley’s camp also claimed that she has never supported amnesty, and that there is no evidence showing otherwise.