Trump wins a decisive victory in New Hampshire, Haley comes in 2nd
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
It is 2 for 2 for Trump after a win in New Hampshire Tuesday night.
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DONALD TRUMP: We started off with 13, and now we're down to two people. And I think one person will be gone probably tomorrow.
MARTIN: He was talking about Nikki Haley, but she says she is still in the race, even after her second place finish.
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NIKKI HALEY: In the next two months, millions of voters in over 20 states will have their say.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Yes.
HALEY: We should honor them and allow them to vote.
MARTIN: Joining us now in Manchester, N.H., is NPR senior White House correspondent Tamara Keith and NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez. Good morning to you both. Thank you both so much for being with us after a long night.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Good to be here with you.
FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Good morning.
MARTIN: So, Franco, I'm going to start with you. You've been covering the Trump campaign. What struck you about the former president's remarks last night - anything in particular?
ORDOÑEZ: I mean, he really, you know, came out with a, you know, strong, you know, message of unity - two of his old rivals on stage, Senator Tim Scott, as well as Vivek Ramaswamy, the entrepreneur. It was kind of this message that he's been pushing for a while of inevitability, that the race is over. But what did - you know, struck me was kind of the fire in Trump's speech. I mean, he really went after Nikki Haley here. You know, he was not happy that she said that she was going to continue. He did not like her - the tone of her speech. He actually called her an imposter and said he doesn't get angry, he gets even.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Criticized her wardrobe in some of the remarks and made a number of other another comments, kind of dominated by his own resentment. And Tamara Keith, I'd like to know how that looks to the Nikki Haley campaign. Haley is determined to stay in, according to her own remarks, but faces some tough states ahead.
KEITH: She absolutely faces a very tough map ahead, in no small part because Trump and his allies at state parties have made sure that the delegate allotment process is in his favor. It is stacked in his favor. The deck is stacked. But the Haley campaign says, hey, only two states have voted, and there are a lot of other states left to go, including her home state of South Carolina. Her campaign is up on the air with an ad this morning in South Carolina introducing her, if you will - reintroducing her to the state where she was governor. And they also argue that she got 43% of the vote in New Hampshire or wherever it settles. That's 43% of people who voted in a Republican primary who don't want Donald Trump. And let's say that he is running as an incumbent. That's a pretty bad number for a incumbent.
INSKEEP: Well, this is on my mind, Tam, because I'm looking back, I'm thinking back, way back to 1992. George H.W. Bush was an incumbent Republican president and faced a challenger in New Hampshire. And the challenger got, like, one-third of the vote. And people were like, oh, this is a sign of serious vulnerability in the general election, which turned out to be true. Is this a sign of serious vulnerability for Donald Trump in a general election?
KEITH: Well, the other thing about Donald Trump is, yes, he is running as an incumbent, but he did lose. He lost in 2020. He denied that he lost and is having, you know, a series of legal problems as a result of that. And there are voters that are uncomfortable with that, voters who, you know, a few years ago would have raised their hand and said that they were Republican. And now they describe themselves as independent. I think that there are some flashing red lights for the general election when you have that share of independent voters in an electorate in a state that actually technically is very close to being a swing state here in New Hampshire that are not going for the person who is very most likely to get the nomination. There are flashing red lights on the Democratic side too, though.
MARTIN: OK, well, let me just go back to Franco on this, and I'm just - I'm going to stick with former President Trump for a minute. So he attacked Nikki Haley, talked about her wardrobe, name-calling - you know, we've seen that before. Did he have any issues that he pivoted to?
ORDOÑEZ: Yeah. I mean, one of the big issues that he pivoted to was immigration. I mean, very soon after attacking Haley, he quickly kind of progressed to, you know, kind of some of his general election - likely to be his general election speech. You know, he talked about - you know, he blamed Biden for, you know, the rise of inflation. And then he really, really dove into immigration, even brought on Mike Homan (ph), who was a top, top adviser to him during his administration, talking about the problems on the border. This is an issue that I'd anticipate Trump is going to continue - I'm sure Trump is going to continue to harp on for the next several months, especially as the challenges on the border continue, and Democrats are also raising concerns about the problems there for President Biden. So, you know, if this stays to be a problem, I think we're just going to hear more and more from Trump about this. And this is something that he was really harping on yesterday.
INSKEEP: Trump is demanding that Republicans unify behind him, but is he doing anything, or is his campaign doing anything to reconcile people who may still have a problem with him?
ORDOÑEZ: His effort for - you know, for a long time has been to drive up, you know, support from his base. He has not really given such a message to reach over to those independents that Tam was talking about. Even in his speeches in the leading days, he talked about the problems with the New Hampshire primary and criticizing it for allowing independents to vote, because he said, that's not what the Republican Party is about. He's attacked and attacked those independent kind of leaders like Chris Sununu, who clearly endorsed Nikki Haley. You know, he's had a real issue with independents and moderate voters. He has not really, you know, reached out with an olive branch yet. Now, you know, we're still in the midst of the primary. There's still time to kind of shift over. And you would - I would anticipate he'll do some of that. But his - you know, his MO, his game plan, has always been to increase the turnout of his base.
MARTIN: OK, let me go back to Tam. Tam, you said that there are some flashing red lights for the Republicans, but there are also some flashing red lights for the Democrats. Say more about that. And look, it does seem like the race is hardening up as just as a lot of analysts said it would. It's a Trump-Biden rematch. You know, talk about that.
KEITH: Yeah, it is a Trump-Biden rematch. I talked to a lot of voters out - who were voting in the - you know, going to Nikki Haley events 'cause I was primarily covering her, and then - at a polling place yesterday. And let me just say, America is not super excited - at least the Americans I spoke to - not super excited about this rematch, this Biden-Trump rematch. It is something that a lot of people are dreading. And in terms of the general election and the flashing red lights, you know, both Trump and Biden are quite unpopular by the numbers. And that is a challenge. The Biden campaign, who I've been speaking with, insists that once people realize that it's going to be a rematch, that Biden's numbers will start to look better.
MARTIN: Those are our White House correspondents, Tamara Keith and Franco Ordoñez. Tam, Franco, thank you both so much.
KEITH: You're welcome.
ORDOÑEZ: Thank you.
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