Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Sunday took aim at former President Trump’s recent mix-ups, suggesting that his mental fitness is “not at the same level” as it was the first time he won the White House.
Trump last week appeared mix up Haley, a former United Nations ambassador who served in his Cabinet, and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) while speaking about the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection.
Asked by CBS “Face The Nation” anchor Margaret Brennan if the apparent gaffe is the first time she’s questioned Trump’s mental fitness, Haley listed off a series of recent incidents where the former president appeared to mix up names or events.
“He claimed Joe Biden was going to get us into World War II, I’m assuming he meant World War III. He said that he ran against President Obama, he never ran against President Obama. He says that I’m the one that kept security from the Capitol on Jan. 6, I was nowhere near the Capitol on Jan. 6,” Haley said. “Don’t be surprised if you [have] someone that’s 80 in office, their mental stability is going to continue to decline, that’s just human nature. We know that.”
Haley then pointed to the likely Democratic presidential nominee, President Biden, who at 81 is the oldest sitting U.S. president, and argued he is “very different” than he was two years ago when he first took office.
The White House hopeful said Biden should serve as a “warning sign” for 2024.
Brennan then asked Haley if she ever questioned Trump’s mental fitness when working in his Cabinet.
“I called him out if he was doing something wrong. I mean, I would show up, pick up the phone and say, ‘You can’t do this. Instead you could X, Y, or Z, you know.’ So I always told him what I thought was in the best interest of the country when I was in his Cabinet,” Haley said. “But this is different. I mean, we’re seeing he’s just not at the same level he was at 2016. I think we’re seeing some of that decline.”
Trump on Saturday pushed back on claims of mental missteps after he appeared to mix up Haley and Pelosi in reference to Jan. 6, telling a crowd in New Hampshire that he often relies on sarcasm during speeches.
“A lot of times I’ll say that President Obama is doing a lousy job, meaning that Obama is running the show,” Trump said during his rally. “They’ll say, ‘Donald Trump doesn’t know who our president is.’ No, no. A few months ago I took a cognitive test my doctor gave me, I said give me a cognitive test … and I aced it. I also took one when I was in the White House.”
Despite the former president’s age and his opponents’ doubts about his ability to serve as president, Trump, who is 77, continues to lead in GOP primary polling. He easily won during last week’s Iowa caucuses and has a 11.1 point lead over Haley in New Hampshire, which will hold its primary on Tuesday, according to The Hill and Decision Desk HQ’s polling index.