Republican New York Rep. Elise Stefanik walked back GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s Friday gaffe confusing presidential rival Nikki Haley with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday.
Stefanik said Trump’s saying Haley’s name instead of Pelosi’s “wasn’t a mix-up,” refuting speculations that Trump had “lost a step” during an interview with NBC News.
“The reality is Nikki Haley is relying on Democrats, just like Nancy Pelosi, to try to have a desperate showing,” Stefanik said.
“President Trump has not lost a step,” Stefanik insisted. “He is a stronger candidate.”
“You know, and I know, and Joe Biden knows that Donald Trump is going to win this November.” pic.twitter.com/ogLkZEbieD
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) January 20, 2024
Trump incorrectly told an audience in New Hampshire that Haley was in charge of the law enforcement response to the Capitol riot in an apparent moment of confusion Friday. The Biden campaign pounced on Trump’s gaffe on social media, correcting that intended reference to Pelosi without disputing his claim she purged evidence related to the Jan. 6 riots.
“You know, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, you know they— do you know they destroyed all of the information and all of the evidence?” Trump said. “Everything. Deleted and destroyed all of it. All of it because of, lots of things. Like, Nikki Haley is in charge of security. We offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guards, whatever they want. They turned it down. They don’t want to talk about that. These are very dishonest people.”
Trump reportedly nodded approvingly at the suggestion of Stefanik for his running mate during a candlelit dinner with Mar-a-Lago members in late December, according to NBC News. The GOP frontrunner referred to the New York representative as a “killer,” according to one person who attended the event. (RELATED: ‘Her Presidency Was Untenable’: Elise Stefanik Says ‘Morally Bankrupt’ Testimony Led To Harvard President’s Downfall)
Trump seemingly ruled out the idea of Haley serving as his vice president during the same Friday rally where he made his gaffe, claiming the former South Carolina governor is “not tough enough” to be his running mate. Haley delivered her clearest answer yet earlier Friday over her openness to being Trump’s vice president, stating that she “doesn’t play second fiddle.”