Taza Khabre

Haley questions Trump’s mental capacity after mistaking her for Pelosi

Nikki Haley escalated her attacks on Donald J. Trump on Saturday, directly criticizing his mental acuity for the first time a day after the former president appeared to confuse her with Nancy Pelosi, the former speaker of the House, during his rally Friday night in New Hampshire .

At a press conference with reporters after her campaign event in Peterborough, NH, Ms. Haley stopped short of calling Mr. Trump mentally incompetent. But she wondered if he would be “up to it” enough to lead the nation.

“My parents are old and I love them very much,” she said. “But once you see them get to a certain age, there is a decline. It’s a fact – ask any doctor, there’s a decline.”

At his rally, the former president accused Ms. Haley of failing to provide adequate security during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and linked her to a House committee that later investigated it. Ms. Haley, who did not have a government role at the time of the attack, was at home in South Carolina that day, according to campaign officials.

A former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador under Mr. Trump, Ms. Haley, 52, opened her presidential bid this year with calls for “new generational leadership” and mental fitness tests for candidates who are 75 or older. Although she continued to highlight those calls during her candidacyshe reserves her sharpest attacks on mental capacity for President Biden and Congress, which she calls “the most privileged nursing home in the country.”

The last time she came this close to hitting Mr Trump directly was in October, after he criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and called Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militant group, “very smart”. Responding to the remarks, Ms. Haley said: “To go and criticize a head of state who has just seen great bloodshed — no, that’s not what we need in a president.”

Since her election night speech after the Iowa caucuses, Ms. Haley has been sharpening her case against the former president, placing Mr. Trump in a group with Mr. Biden as obstacles to an American revival. At her event in Keene, NH, she criticized Mr. Trump for his leadership tone and asked the crowd if they really wanted two “guys” in their 80s running for president.

“I wasn’t even in Washington on January 6th — I wasn’t in the office then,” she told the audience Friday.

In the press conference that followed, she suggested that the country was in too vulnerable a state to have a leader who was mentally incompetent.

“That’s a concern and that’s what Americans should be thinking about,” she said.

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