Former President Donald Trump has a key endorsement in the presidential primary that will likely upset his Republican challenger, Nikki Haley: Rep. Nancy Mace, a South Carolina Republican and former vocal ally of the former U.N. ambassador, doubled down on Friday — similar to Haley . For Democrats.
During a news conference in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, on Friday, Mace denigrated Haley’s record on taxes, foreign policy and immigration while echoing attacks by other Republicans who compared Haley to Democrats such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“The last time a president who raised taxes in South Carolina walked in high heels was Hillary Clinton,” Mace said.
Mace added, “Donald Trump is the only man who can save America.”
However, over time, Mace has walked a tightrope with Trump and his base, bouncing from criticism to full support since her first week in Congress in 2021.
Just one day after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, Mace said Trump’s “entire legacy” had been “obliterated” by the siege.
During her 2022 re-election bid for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, Trump supported Mace’s challenger, Katie Arrington. At the time, Trump called Mace “terrible” and disappointing.
“Frankly, she is hated by almost everyone, and who needs that in Congress, or in the Republican Party?” Trump said in a statement on his social media while endorsing Arrington.
During a rally in South Carolina, Trump He went to call Mace “Crazy” and “a terrible person.”
However, after he supported her rival and attacked her, Mace He posted a video clip on social media supporting Trump. Standing in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan, Mace said she was an “early supporter” of Trump and his agenda.
However, Mace never regained Trump’s support during her midterm race, instead boasting high-profile support for Haley, who lives in Mace’s district. Haley was so She appeared in a television commercial supporting MaceHe described her as a “fighter” and “tough as nails.”
“I love having Nikki Haley here,” Mace told ABC News the day before her election.
But when it comes to her favorite occupant in the White House, Mace’s love for Haley appears to have dissipated. In late January, Mace endorsed Trump over Haley, a massive blow to the former South Carolina governor when one of her most prominent supporters turned against her. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott also supported Trump after suspending his campaign.
“I don’t completely agree with any candidate,” Mace told the Associated Press. “So far I’ve stayed out of the topic. But it’s time to unite behind our candidate.”
Dave Wilson, a conservative political strategist in South Carolina, told ABC News that Haley is losing allies and that state politics is going through a period of unpredictability.
“We are currently in one of the most politically divisive seasons in South Carolina politics,” Wilson said. “As the race itself sharpens, those who seem like natural allies because of their past relationships are moving further toward the populist tide.”
Mace’s political future is likely on shaky ground — her support for the ouster of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy landed her in a chaotic primary to keep her seat. Just before leaving Congress, McCarthy said in an interview with CNN that Mace did not deserve re-election because of it.Philosophy and confusion.”
Wilson theorized that Mace’s turn toward Trump might be part of a border strategy to protect herself from any vulnerabilities she now has after going after McCarthy.
Mace faces primary challenges from her former chief of staff, Daniel Hanlon, and Catherine Templeton, who served in South Carolina government during Haley’s governorship and was reportedly one of the top picks to serve as labor secretary in the Trump White House.
“Nancy Mace is likely aware of the fact that she faces stiff opposition with at least two primary challengers in this Republican primary,” Wilson said. “She likely knows she will need to get Trump’s endorsement to give her the momentum on the scale she will need to overcome a primary challenge, especially if Kevin McCarthy’s new super PAC comes in after her no vote for him.” The remaining speaker in the House of Representatives.”
This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com