Haley says Trump ‘should have stopped’ Capitol attack much earlier

Nikki Haley’s balancing act over the issue of January 6 and the 2020 election continued on Sunday as she appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press and faced questions about the attack on the Capitol from Kristin Welker.

Ms Haley, a former ambassador to the United Nations under Mr Trump’s presidency, drove a careful edge between opposing Mr Trump’s actions before and during the riot as she warned that the former president would have to answer in court for his actions. She took no position on whether the former president was guilty of a crime for not calling off the mob after rioters began attacking and injuring police on the grounds of the Capitol, only calling it “questionable” and stating that the courts would decide the answer.

“I’m not a lawyer,” she insisted, after explaining: “I think he should have said something earlier. I think he should have stopped it when it started.”

“I am telling you: Having the rally was not a crime. To turn around and not stop people from breaking the law, when he had the opportunity to do that, is questionable. And that’s what I think the courts are going to have to play with.”

The former governor added that her opponent will “have to answer” for allegedly condoning “lawlessness” on the day of the attack. Ms Haley has also indicated, however, that Mr Trump would receive a presidential pardon for his actions were she to reach the White House, meaning that any potential punishment for his actions at the federal level would not be levied.

Ms Haley’s attacks on her primary opponent have sharpened considerably in recent weeks, but she remains well behind the former president in both polling and delegates to the July Republican convention in Milwaukee. That gap between the two rivals could widen considerably on Tuesday when more than a third of all delegates in the contest are up for grabs in 15 states and one territory.

She is hoping to pick off a few states from Mr Trump in the upcoming Super Tuesday contest this week, including Utah and Virginia, though even that will be a challenge and will likely result in her campaign watching larger states such as Texas and California go to her opponent.

Ms Haley’s path to the nomination remains unclear absent something forcing Mr Trump out of the race, such as the mounting costs of his various legal issues. So far, that remains a minuscule possibility. So far, she has retained a sizable enough contingent of Republicans, independents and even conservative Democrats supporting her bid to keep going, though she has yet to display any notable momentum and will soon run a real risk of being mathematically eliminated.

Washington DC’s Republican primary results are expected Sunday evening, with voting occurring throughout the day. Ms Haley is expected to be competitive in the District of Columbia, though there is a sizable contingent of Trump supporters in the city and surrounding suburbs as well.