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‘Totally unhinged’: Tension grows between Haley and Trump

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called former President Donald Trump “totally unhinged” in an interview with Fox News on Friday — the latest attack the insurgent Republican has launched on the candidate who still seems likely to secure the nomination.

Tension has been growing between the two candidates since the New Hampshire primary, in which Trump won 54.3 percent of the vote. But Haley kept it to about an 11-point gap, closer than most polling predicted.

But in the speeches that followed, Haley treated the night like a victory, calling the primary “far from over,” while Trump attacked his opponent by mocking her clothing, and saying she had “a very bad night.” Trump has been ramping up his personal attacks on Haley, bringing back his “birdbrain” nickname from earlier in the primary and even using an incorrect version of Haley’s first name, “Nimrada.” (Her first name is Nimarata.)

In the days that followed the primary, the back-and-forth between the two has been an increasingly sharp series of barbs — with Haley building on a new strategy of going directly after a candidate she has avoided criticizing too harshly until now.

Trump’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Here’s a look at Haley’s week of increasingly tough digs at Trump this week:

Haley: Trump is ‘totally unhinged’

Haley, in an appearance on Fox News on Friday, called Trump “totally unhinged” for focusing his attacks on her, rather than issues of policy like securing the border and preventing war.

She noted how Trump said he’ll permanently bar people from “the MAGA camp” if they donate to her, and has tried to push Republicans across the party to back him and say the primary is over.

“That’s a president who’s supposed to serve every person in America, and you’re deciding that you’re gonna have a club, and actually ban people from being in and out of your club?” Haley said.

Haley sold ‘Barred. Permanently.’ T-shirts

She’s seen a financial incentive in going after Trump. Her campaign claimed on Thursday she has drawn more than $1 million in small-dollar and digital donations since Trump’s threat against her, according to a campaign press release.

Haley’s team also released T-shirts with the words “Barred. Permanently.” and her name that supporters will receive with a $5 donation to her campaign.

Haley’s team did not immediately respond to POLITICO’s request for comment.

Haley mocked Trump’s ‘temper tantrum’

On the campaign trail Wednesday, Haley mocked Trump for throwing a “temper tantrum” after the New Hampshire primary results came in.

She claimed he felt threatened by her presence and brought up his blunders from Jan. 6. Haley also questioned his mental fitness, echoing an appearance she made during a speech over the weekend.

Haley challenging him to debate her.

“Bring it, Donald. Show me what you got.”

‘I don’t care how much you all want to coronate’ Trump

On the morning of the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, Haley took a jab at Fox News hosts after they asked her about dropping out of the race.

“I don’t care how much you all want to coronate Donald Trump,” she said.

Haley continued to quarrel with the anchors who asked why she thought they were “the enemy.”

Haley renewed her mental competency pitch after Trump’s Jan. 6 misstep

During her speech on Tuesday evening, Haley mocked Trump incorrectly claiming she was at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Many speculated he was confusing Haley with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but Trump in a campaign speech over the weekend had said, “Nikki Haley was in charge of security.” She was not.

“I’ve long called for mental competency tests for politicians over the age of 75,” she said, renewing a call for a candidate litmus test she rolled out last year. She’s used the test as a means of attacking 81-year-old President Joe Biden, but this week she used it as a cudgel against Trump.

Haley said Trump is ‘not as sharp’ as he ‘used to be’

In an appearance on “Face the Nation,” that aired last Sunday, Haley poked fun at Trump for slips in his memory.

She noted how Trump claimed in a rally speech that President Joe Biden would get the U.S. into World War II, and that he ran against former President Barack Obama.

“I’m assuming he meant World War III,” she said, then pointed to the other obvious error. “He never ran against President Obama.”

Haley said her 77-year-old competitor was “just not at the same level he was at 2016,” she said. “I think we’re seeing some of that decline.”

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Author: POLITICO