Biden and Trump both pounce for Haley supporters as she finally bows out

Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump put out statements trying to get supporters of Nikki Haley to back their campaigns as the former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor finally dropped out of the race.

The president also criticised Mr Trump as he tried to win over Haley backers.

“It takes a lot of courage to run for President – that’s especially true in today’s Republican Party, where so few dare to speak the truth about Donald Trump. Nikki Haley was willing to speak the truth about Trump: about the chaos that always follows him, about his inability to see right from wrong, about his cowering before Vladimir Putin,” Mr Biden said in a statement on Wednesday morning.

“Donald Trump made it clear he doesn’t want Nikki Haley’s supporters. I want to be clear: There is a place for them in my campaign,” he added. “I know there is a lot we won’t agree on. But on the fundamental issues of preserving American democracy, on standing up for the rule of law, on treating each other with decency and dignity and respect, on preserving NATO and standing up to America’s adversaries, I hope and believe we can find common ground.”

Mr Trump took to Truth Social to gloat but also to invite Haley supporters to join his campaign.

“Nikki Haley got TROUNCED last night, in record-setting fashion, despite the fact that Democrats, for reasons unknown, are allowed to vote in Vermont, and various other Republican Primaries,” he said about his only Super Tuesday loss.

“Much of her money came from Radical Left Democrats, as did many of her voters, almost 50%, according to the polls,” he claimed.

“At this point, I hope she stays in the ‘race’ and fights it out until the end! I’d like to thank my family, friends, and the Great Republican Party for helping me to produce, by far, the most successful Super Tuesday in HISTORY, and would further like to invite all of the Haley supporters to join the greatest movement in the history of our Nation. BIDEN IS THE ENEMY, HE IS DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!” he wrote.

Ms Haley dropped out of the presidential race after she only managed to win Vermont on Super Tuesday. Eleven races were called in favour of Trump, who took the stage at Mar-a-Lago to declare victory.

After making no appearance on Tuesday, Ms Haley spoke in Charleston on Wednesday morning.

“Just over a year ago, I launched my campaign for president,” she said. “When I began I said the campaign was grounded in my love for our country. Just last week, my mother, a first-generation immigrant, got to vote for her daughter for President. Only in America. I am filled with gratitude for the outpouring of support we’ve received from all across our great country. But the time has now come to suspend my campaign.”

“I said I wanted Americans to have their voices heard I have done that. I have no regrets. And although I will no longer be a candidate, I will not stop using my voice for the things I believe in,” she added. “Our national debt will eventually crush our economy. A smaller federal government is not only necessary for our freedom, It is necessary for our survival. The road to socialism is the road to ruin for America.”

“Our Congress is dysfunctional and only getting worse. It is filled with followers, not leaders. term limits for Washington politicians are needed now more than ever,” Haley argued on Wednesday. “Our world is on fire because of America’s retreat. Standing by our allies in Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan is a moral imperative. But it’s also more than that. If we retreat further, there will be more war, not less.”

“In all likelihood, Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee when our party convention meets in July. I congratulate him, and wish him well,” she added.

But she declined to endorse the former president.

“I have always been a conservative Republican and always supported the Republican nominee,” she said. “But on this question, as she did on so many others, Margaret Thatcher provided some good advice when she said, ‘never just follow the crowd. Always make up your own mind.’”

“It is now up to Donald Trump to earn the votes of those in our party and beyond it who did not support it. And I hope he does that,” Haley added.

Mr Biden concluded his statement by saying “We all know this is no ordinary election. And the stakes for America couldn’t be higher”.

“I know that Democrats and Republicans and Independents disagree on many issues and hold strong convictions. That’s a good thing. That’s what America stands for. But I also know this: what unites Democrats and Republicans and Independents is a love for America,” he added.

Following Ms Haley’s departure, outgoing Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell endorsed Mr Trump, saying “It is abundantly clear that former President Trump has earned the requisite support of Republican voters to be our nominee for President of the United States”.

While Mr McConnell’s relationship with Mr Trump has deteriorated significantly, the Senate leader was always expected to back the eventual Republican nominee. Mr Trump now has no challengers left for the nomination, with only his legal woes standing in his. He faces 91 criminal counts across four indictments and significant civil damages stemming from trials against New York state and writer E Jean Carroll, who accused the former president of defamation after he forcefully rejected her allegations that he sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s.

“It should come as no surprise that as nominee, he will have my support,” Mr McConnell said of Mr Trump. “During his Presidency, we worked together to accomplish great things for the American people including tax reform that supercharged our economy and a generational change of our federal judiciary - most importantly, the Supreme Court.”

Mr McConnell declined to give then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick, now-Attorney General Merrick Garland, a hearing following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Mr Trump managed to put three justices on the court during his four years in office. The remaking of the judiciary is one of the main things of Mr McConnell’s legacy. He’s the longest-serving senate leader in US history, having held the post since 2007.

“I look forward to the opportunity of switching from playing defense against the terrible policies the Biden administration has pursued to a sustained offense geared towards making a real difference in improving the lives of the American people,” Mr McConnell said.