Nikki Haley on Friday called Donald J. Trump “completely deranged” after one of his allies failed to get the Republican National Committee to declare him the party’s presumptive nominee, escalating her attacks on his mental acuity.
Ms. Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and Mr. Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, described her former boss as increasingly antagonistic during appearance on Fox News.
“Let’s look at the last 48 hours,” Ms. Haley said, continuing to attack him for his combative rhetoric in his victory speech Tuesday in New Hampshire.
“He’s throwing a tantrum, talking about revenge,” she said. “Then he goes and says he’s going to ban anyone from MAGA who donates to me.”
“I think it’s completely out of order,” she said.
She also accused him of being behind an RNC member’s plan to use the resolution to try to force the party to say the nominating contest is effectively over. But the plan was withdrawn after Mr Trump dismissed it in a post on his Truth Social website.
Ms. Haley, who lost to Mr. Trump, the GOP frontrunner, by about 11 percentage points in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, vowed to continue her uphill campaign.
A spokesman for the Trump campaign, Steven Cheung, used Mr. Trump’s derogatory nickname for Ms. Haley, “bird brain,” and said she was “trying to grasp at straws to turn on the voters because she is nothing but a Democrat with policies that will destroy the last America Earth.”
The relationship between Ms. Haley and Mr. Trump has become increasingly acrimonious since the race narrowed to just the two of them. Ms Haley first hit on her age in the days leading up to the New Hampshire primary, suggesting “there is a decline”. In his victory speech, Mr. Trump fumed over her refusal to drop out of the race.
In an interview with Fox, she dismissed the narrative that a loss in New Hampshire — where it was a two-candidate race — and a third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15 left her an extremely narrow path to the nomination. Mr Trump is leading the polls in South Carolina, her home state and the next big contest between them.
Ms. Haley also said she had spoken to Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, who told Fox News on Tuesday after Mr. Trump’s victory: “We have to unite around our eventual nominee, which is going to be Donald Trump.”
“I let her know how disappointed I was,” Ms. Haley said.
Mr. Trump stepped up pressure on Ms. Haley to drop out of the race, suggesting it was futile for her to move forward in subsequent contests. And he argued that a protracted primary battle would be a waste of time and money for the larger goal of challenging President Biden in the November election.
“She will be disgraced and will never be able to run for public office again,” Mr Cheung said on Friday.
Ms. Haley, for her part, has long argued that she is in a better position to defeat Mr. Biden than her former boss.
Alyce McFadden and Jazmine Ulloa contributed to the reporting.