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Nikki Haley says being Trump’s vice president is ‘off the table’

Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley speaks to veterans during the lunch rush at a diner in Amherst, N.H., on Friday. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
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AMHERST, N.H. — Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley said Friday that being vice president is “off the table,” her sharpest rejection so far of the notion that she could be former president Donald Trump’s running mate if he ultimately wins the Republican presidential nomination.

During a campaign stop at a diner in New Hampshire, a voter asked Haley if she would vow not to be Trump’s vice president.

“I have said from the very beginning I don’t play for second, I don’t want to be anybody’s vice president. That is off the table,” Haley told the voter, in remarks first reported by Politico and confirmed in a recording obtained by The Washington Post.

“I have always said that. That is a game they play that I’m not going to play. I don’t want to be vice president,” Haley added.

Haley, who has gained momentum in recent weeks but continues to trail Trump in New Hampshire polls, has previously more vaguely stated that she is not “playing for second.”

In campaign stops in the Granite State on Friday — just days before the state’s primary — Haley continued to pitch herself as a candidate who can appeal beyond the traditional GOP base, a knock at both Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Asked if she can get the support of MAGA voters, Haley asked: “Do you want a Republican that can win more than just this small group? Do you want a Republican that can actually win the presidency by bringing more people into our party?”

“This is a wake-up call for the Republican Party,” she said.

Trump also appeared to be taking the possibility of a Haley vice presidency off the table Friday night at an event in Concord, N.H. Trump has amped up his attacks on Haley, calling her a “globalist,” suggesting she would be lax about the border and cut Social Security and Medicare, and associating her with Democratic donors. Haley’s campaign has pushed back on those assertions.

Former president Donald Trump attacked GOP presidential primary opponent and former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) on Jan. 19. (Video: AP)

“She was okay,” Trump said, adding that Haley’s not “presidential.”

“Now, when I say that, that probably means she’s not going to be chosen as the vice president,” he said. “When you say certain things, it sort of takes them out of play right?”

Wang reported from Washington. Marianne LeVine contributed to this report.

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