Former President Donald Trump says he's not picking Nikki Haley for vice president.
"She is not presidential timber," Trump said at his campaign event in Concord, New Hampshire, on Friday. "Now when I say that, that probably means that she's not going to be chosen as the vice president."
Trump's comments come as he has increased his attacks on his former ambassador to the United Nations as she attempts to cut into his lead in New Hampshire ahead of Tuesday's primary.
"I know her very well. She's not tough enough. She's not smart enough. And she wasn't respected enough. She cannot do this job," Trump said, spending much of his speech on Friday disparaging her. "She's not going to be able to deal with President Xi. She's not going to be able to deal with Putin."
On the campaign trail, Haley has avoided directly answering the question of whether she'd accept the role of vice president, answering the question with "I don't play for second."
"I am not running to be vice president. I have said that in every way I know possible," Haley said at a campaign stop in Iowa earlier this month. "I don't play for a second. I've never done it in my life. I'm not doing it."
She's also challenged the idea that Trump would be the one picking a vice president as she continues to claim there's still a pathway to victory for her.
"I think that he's not going to even have to worry about picking a VP. I know that I will in six months. That's our whole goal," Haley said during a Fox News appearance.
Looking to secure an early victory in the GOP field as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis struggles to rise in the polls, Trump has been zeroing in on his attacks against Haley in recent weeks, accusing her of courting Democrats and painting her as a "liberal" candidate that has adopted policies backed by Democrats. Haley has refuted those claims, stressing she was a "Tea Party governor" and has implemented conservative policies while in office.
Trump appointed Haley as his United Nations ambassador in 2017, where she served for two years. After her resignation, Trump praised her as a "fantastic person" and a "very successful" governor and said "she has been very special to me." However, in recent weeks, as Trump ramps up his attacks against her, he has claimed he only appointed her in order to clear a path for his ally Henry McMaster to become South Carolina governor.
Meanwhile, two people whose name has been floated for vice president joined Trump at his New Hampshire event Friday: GOP Chairwoman Elise Stefanik and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.
"I'd be honored to serve in a future Trump administration in any role," GOP Chairwoman Elise Stefanik said to reporters ahead of Trump's event. "But I'm focused on making sure that we are supporting him, to making sure he is in the strongest position to win this November."
Stefanik then took the stage to warm up the crowd before Trump arrived, praising him as "the strongest commander in chief" and urging hundreds of his supporters to go out and vote for him.
And Scott, once a fellow presidential hopeful, endorsed Trump on stage Friday night, saying "We need a president who will unite our country. We need Donald Trump." And Trump praised him as a "very good man" and a "very respected man."
Recently, Trump has claimed he knows who he wants to pick for vice president, though his campaign has pushed back on anything final.
"I know who it's going to be," Trump told Fox News' Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum during the network's town hall in Iowa, which he attended instead of CNN's GOP primary debate.
"All I know is what I heard tonight, and I'm not gonna categorize it any other way than that," senior campaign adviser Chris LaCivita told reporters following the town hall.
Other names Trump could consider as a potential running mate include South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, both of whom have spent the primary cycle stumping for the former president.
Trump says he's 'probably' not choosing Nikki Haley for vice president originally appeared on abcnews.go.com