Washington: Ahead of the do-or-die South Carolina Republican primary later this month, Indian-American Republican presidential aspirant Nikki Haley attacked her rivals in the 2024 election – fellow party member Donald Trump and Democratic incumbent Joe Biden, casting them as "Grumpy Old Men".
Haley, 52, the former UN Ambassador and former South Carolina Governor, is the only Republican candidate still challenging the 77-year-old former president Trump for the Republican nomination for president.
The most important Republican primary will be held in South Carolina on February 24. A Trump victory here would make him a presumptive nominee, while a Haley win would propel her candidacy in the party.
Both candidates are doing an intensive campaign in South Carolina, Haley's home state.
In a new series of political ads under the theme of “Grumpy Old Men,” Hlaey went after the age of the two men likely to secure their respective parties’ nominations for president.
In a reference to the 1993 movie Grumpy Old Men, starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, Haley posted an image on X, formerly Twitter, replacing the actors’ faces in a version of the movie poster with the faces of Biden and Trump.
The rematch nobody wants... pic.twitter.com/aIBkDQbiP4— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) January 31, 2024
Biden, a Democrat, is 81. He is the oldest US president in history.
On Thursday the Haley campaign released the second installment of the “Grumpy Old Men” series, highlighting Donald Trump’s refusal to debate Nikki Haley.
Trump likes to say he is “sharper than he was 20 years ago,” and brags about his ability to ace a mental competency test. If that’s true, why won’t he debate Haley? Could it be that he is simply a grumpy, old man who doesn’t want to answer the tough questions?" a press release said.
Haley is now 26 points behind Trump in South Carolina. The gap between the two has reduced by nearly five points this week. Nationally, Trump is leading Haley by 54 points.
However, according to the latest CNN poll, in a head-to-head matchup between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Trump beats Biden by only four points. It's just outside the margin of error, which is 3.8 points.
In a matchup between Biden and Haley, the Indian American gets 52 per cent, and Biden gets 39 per cent.
“I think the reality is, 70 per cent of Americans don't want to see a Biden-Trump rematch. I mean, that's just a fact. The fact that we would have two 80-year-old candidates running for president is absurd. We have got a country in disarray and a world on fire," Haley said.
"We need someone who can work eight years to get our country back on track, to heal our country, and to make sure we get our economy strong and that we prevent wars,” Haley told CNN in an interview.
She said the country can’t afford to have either of the two and called them grumpy old men.
“This is not about being disrespectful. This is about the fact that we need to have people -- this is Congress too. We need to have people at the top of their game. These are issues on national security. These are issues on the future of our economy. We can't have it," she said.
"We have already seen Trump have some confused moments. He did it again yesterday. We're seeing Biden. He's slowed down a lot in the past couple of years. This is about the fact that we have to think about our families,” she said.
And to have two guys in their 80s, they are automatically going to be in mental decline, she said.
"That's just a fact. Let's get this right. I think older people see it too. They know that we need a new generational leader. They know that we need to start focusing on the issues at hand, stop all the chaos, all the division and stop these investigations that are happening with both Biden and Trump, and start focusing on what we're going to do to help the American people,” Haley said.
Haley 'spokesperson Brittany Yanick said that the Indian-American will spend the next 23 days campaigning across South Carolina, reminding voters about her record of taking on the establishment and fighting for taxpayers over the political class.
“Good luck to Donald Trump if he tries to lie about Nikki’s record. South Carolinians aren’t buying it because it’s a great day in South Carolina,” she said.
Meanwhile, Steven Cheung, Trump's spokesperson, alleged that Haley is resorting to throwing temper tantrums on X because she quite frankly doesn’t have the funds to run an effective campaign.
“That’s a tell-tale sign of a dying and desperate campaign that’s quickly going nowhere. What do you get when you have a broken campaign with a terrible candidate? A one-way ticket to irrelevancy. When she finally drops out, she’ll be asking herself if all of this was worth it,” he alleged.