GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley said Sunday she “absolutely” trusts the jury in E. Jean Carroll defamation case against former President Trump, but said that the recent ruling should not bar him from the ballot.
“I absolutely trust the jury. And I think that they made their decision based on the evidence. I just don’t think that should take him off the ballot,” Haley said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“I think the American people will take him off the ballot. I think that’s the best way to go forward, is not let him play the victim. Let him play the loser. That’s what we want him to do at the end of the day,” the former United Nations ambassador continued.
A jury on Friday ordered Trump to pay $83.3 million for defaming Carroll in 2019 when he denied the writer’s accusation he sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s. Earlier, a separate jury found the former president liable for sexual abuse in a defamation trial last year with Carroll over a separate comment and was ordered to pay $5 million.
When pressed further on Sunday by host Kristen Welker on whether the recent ruling should disqualify Trump in the race, Haley said it’s up to the voters to decide.
“I don’t think he should be taken off the ballot. I think the American people will decide if he’s disqualifying or not. We don’t do that, Kristen, in America,” Haley responded. “Anybody that wants to run can run. And I think that’s really important. We have seen a lot of people try and infringe on our freedoms and our democracy.”
Welker then pushed Haley on why she is giving Trump “a pass on this issue, where a jury has found him liable for sexual abuse.” The former United Nations ambassador maintained she was not giving Trump a “pass,” and attacked Trump over his age and a recent mix up in which he appeared to confuse Haley with former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“I’m not giving him a pass on anything. I mean, I have said— you know, he went on for three or four minutes talking about how I didn’t secure the Capitol on January 6th,” she responded. “I mean, clearly, he was confused, thinking that I was Nancy Pelosi. But, look, that’s exactly why we don’t need two people in their 80s running for president.”
Haley’s defense of the jury’s verdict led to backlash from the Trump campaign. Trump adviser Jason Miller posted an article from Semafor on X, formerly Twitter, with the headline, “Nikki Haley crosses the Rubicon.” The article described Haley’s comments on the jury verdict on “Meet the Press.”
“Congrats to @Semafor for correctly noting Nikki Haley just torpedoed her political future. There is no point of return. Haley is politically finished for ‘24, ‘28, forever,” Miller wrote.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.