Nikki Haley is perhaps the highest-profile Republican in the nation who has refused to fall in line and endorse Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Some allies believe she may be forced to endorse him before the November election to avoid permanently alienating the Republican Party base. Some even suspect that Haley will re-emerge on Trump’s short list of vice-presidential contenders in the coming months, despite Trump’s recent statement to the contrary.

However, if Haley submits to Trump, as many GOP critics have done, she risks destroying her coalition of independents, moderates, and anti-Trump Republicans, who continue to support her in low-profile primary contests across the nation.

On Tuesday, she has another opportunity to show her strength in Kentucky’s presidential primary contest, which comes over two months after she suspended her campaign. Haley’s decision on Trump will be closely watched by her supporters, as well as allies of Trump and President Joe Biden. Her choice could significantly impact this year’s general election and her future as a prominent Republican appealing to a broad audience.

“Nikki Haley could be the person that unites us,” said Thalia Floras, a 62-year-old retail manager from Nashua, New Hampshire, who was a lifelong Democrat before voting for Haley in her state’s January primary. But Floras also warned, “Nikki Haley has a good place with me now. But if she goes with Trump, I’m done.”

Those close to Haley, a former governor and U.N. ambassador, say it’s unclear what she’ll do. Haley and Trump haven’t spoken in months. While some Republicans who supported Haley might drift back to Trump, the Biden campaign is working to win over her supporters, whom they see as true swing voters.

Biden’s team is quietly organizing a Republicans for Biden group, targeting Haley voters in battleground states. Biden issued a statement thanking Haley for her courage to challenge Trump just minutes after she left the primary race in March. “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,” Biden said.

Trump, meanwhile, has banned Haley donors from his “Make America Great Again” camp and refrained from attacking her since she left the race. Instead, Biden’s allies hope Haley and other Republican Trump critics may stay silent or focus on the election stakes for democracy rather than praising Biden directly.



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