“I don’t get angry so much, I even get even,” former President Donald Trump said Tuesday night during his victory speech in New Hampshire shortly after his former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, whom he had just narrowly defeated, pledged to fight. Against him for the 2024 Republican nomination.
“What crook has ever gotten on stage and claimed victory? She did very poorly,” Trump said during his election watch party in Nashua, New Hampshire, after it became clear that he had fended off Haley’s challenge. In the state where she has so far fared best in the polls, and where her allies once predicted a “landslide.”
“She’s giving a speech like she won,” Trump continued. “She didn’t win. She lost.”
That tone was very different from his election night speech last week in Iowa, where he won by a plurality of votes against three challengers, but he continued to praise his opponents, praising them for running good campaigns.
Two of these three candidates, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, quickly ended their bids for the White House and supported Trump. But not Hailey. On Tuesday night, she boasted that she received better votes in Iowa (19%) than in New Hampshire (43%).
The next step is the South Carolina primary in a month, she said.
“Voters in South Carolina don’t want a coronation. They want an election. We’ll give them one,” she said. “Because we’re just getting started.”
As Trump noted, Haley has yet to win a primary or a caucus, and polls show she faces enormous challenges winning over GOP voters elsewhere in the country. He currently leads her by more than 30 points in South Carolina, according to 538.
However, on Tuesday night, she called herself a “fighter” and said there was still competition between them, even as other prominent Republicans increasingly coalesced behind Trump and President Joe Biden indicated they were already competing against each other.
Trump was clearly angry in his speech to Haley for her pledge to stay in the race because he said she did not have a viable path to victory.
His statements — and sometimes veiled attacks, such as suggesting there were reasons why Haley was “under investigation” — were a symbol of frustration within Haley’s campaign over his refusal to end her bid and unite around the front-runner as his aides. He argues that she will not succeed in the following early states.
Haley decided not to participate in the Nevada Republican caucuses on February 8, instead choosing to participate in the state-run primaries two days earlier, meaning she would not receive any delegates in the state.
Trump and his campaign have already begun to exploit this decision, accusing her of being “scared” and preemptively declaring victory in Nevada.
Looking at Haley’s home state of South Carolina, her chances — for now — aren’t much better, the Trump team says. In addition to his lead in the polls there, he has received the endorsement of the governor of South Carolina, two senators, seven of the eight members of the state’s Republican congressional delegation, as well as numerous state officials.
Trump even highlighted his support for South Carolina in his victory speech in New Hampshire, touting the fact that South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, whom Haley initially appointed, endorsed him over her.
“You must really hate her,” Trump said to Scott on stage.
“Oh, I just love you,” Scott quickly responded.
Haley’s team dismissed Trump’s rhetoric about her on Tuesday, with communications director Nachama Soloveitchik saying in part: “Two states have now voted in the presidential race, and Donald Trump barely received half the votes — that’s not a strong endorsement for a former president.” The president demands the coronation.”
“His angry rant was full of grievances and offered the American people nothing about his vision for the future of our country,” Soloveitchik said.
But more criticism is likely to come her way in the next few weeks from the former president and his allies.
Senior Trump campaign advisers warned before the New Hampshire primary that unless Haley dropped out of the race after losing the state, she should be prepared for “total demolition and embarrassment in her home state of South Carolina.”
Trump’s next campaign stop will be in Phoenix, and he is scheduled to speak at a Republican Party event in Arizona on Friday.
The next day, Trump is scheduled to hold another caucus rally in Las Vegas, distinguishing himself from Haley by campaigning in Nevada despite the fact that he is the only remaining candidate in the caucuses. However, Nevada could be a battleground state in the general election.
Haley’s campaign has committed to staying in the race until Super Tuesday on March 5, focusing on “open or semi-open primaries” in 11 of the 16 states, where non-Republicans can vote, with some restrictions, as Haley did. He seeks to influence independent and more moderate voters to try to reduce Trump’s lead.
Her team claims they see “huge fertile ground” in the upcoming campaign calendar.
Haley’s campaign also pointed to Trump’s legal battles that sidelined him as another argument for why she should remain in the race.
He denies any wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty in his four criminal cases.
Earlier this week, Trump narrowly avoided a political-legal collision course when a New York judge delayed E. Gene Carroll’s civil defamation trial — allowing him to campaign in New Hampshire rather than return to court to testify.
With two key rulings that will determine the course of his court challenges — pending U.S. Supreme Court rulings on whether he can be disqualified from the state’s primary ballot based on the 14th Amendment and whether presidential immunity protects him from his criminal case of election subversion — Trump and… It is expected that he will continue to reconcile his legal agenda with his political agenda throughout his electoral cycle.
However, Trump has maintained a consistent message that the legal battles he faces are one of the main reasons he is running for another term — arguing that his fight against the charges is actually a fight on behalf of his movement against government overreach.
However, prosecutors have described him as illegally keeping government secrets and seeking to interfere in democracy, among other charges.
ABC News’ Abby Cruz and Nicholas Kerr contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com