South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will endorse Marco Rubio in kind of an unexpected move since she said she wasn't ready to make a decision. Haley is very popular in the state and it was an endorsement that Jeb Bush was trying very hard to capture:
She’s the most popular politician in the state at the moment; a few days ago, Jeb Bush called her endorsement, “the most powerful meaningful one in the state.”
Roboto is pushing hard to finish in second place in South Carolina, and this endorsement could help his overall campaign do just that after Gov. Chris Christie destroyed him.
Haley’s decision was a bit of a reversal in the past day. The governor told reporters Tuesday that she had not made up her mind on who to back in the 2016 race.
Haley has become a favorite to make vice presidential short lists after her handling of last year’s Charleston shooting and successful call to remove the Confederate flag from the S.C. State House grounds. She gave the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union last month.
The governor’s endorsement comes at a critical time for Rubio.
The Florida senator needs momentum in South Carolina after finishing fifth in New Hampshire after a rattled debate performance. Rubio trails Trump and Cruz in the Palmetto State with three days ahead of the S.C. GOP presidential primary on Saturday.
Haley joins U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of North Charleston, the only African-American Republican in the Senate, and U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, a Spartanburg Republican who heads a special panel investigating the Benghazi attack, in endorsing Rubio.
Donald Trump was never going to win her support after he attacked because he felt she was too sympathetic to Muslim refugees:
Trump has said Haley is not doing enough to protect South Carolina from Syrian refugees and the possibility of Guantanamo prisoners being transferred to the Navy brig outside Charleston. Haley has protested both issues to federal officials.
Gov. Haley went on The TODAY Show after delivering the Republican response to Obama's SOTU and held no punches.
↓ Story continues below ↓
“Mr. Trump has definitely contributed to what I think is just irresponsible talk,” she told Matt in an interview Wednesday.
Haley angered some conservative pundits with her response to Obama’s address by seemingly saving her sharpest criticism for those in her own party, particularly those running for the White House. While never mentioning anyone by name, she urged Republican candidates to tone down divisive rhetoric and urged Americans to resist “the siren call of the angriest voices.”
Haley said while Trump was “one of them,” others have contributed to the vitriol.