Nikki Haley makes surprise appearance in 'SNL' cold open

Screenshot 2024 02 04 at 8.36.53%E2%80%AFAM

Republican presidential candidate popped into Rockefeller Plaza on Saturday for a surprise appearance on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” where she called out former President Trump’s resistance to debate and ongoing legal battles.

Haley, playing a “concerned South Carolina voter,” stood up in the mock audience during a fake CNN Town Hall with Trump — played by James Austin Johnson — and asked, “My question is why won’t you debate Nikki Haley?”

Her appearance prompted cheers from the audience and a not-so-happy reaction from Johnson.

“Oh, my god, it’s her! The woman who was in charge of security on Jan. 6. It’s Nancy Pelosi!” Johnson responded.

Charles Barkley, played by Kenan Thompson, pointed out Haley is not former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in reference to Trump’s apparent mix-up of the two political figures last month.

Haley, shortly following the mix-up, renewed her challenge last month to debate Trump, who has declined to attend any of the GOP primary debates, citing his comfortable lead in the polls.

“Are you doing OK, Donald? You might need a mental competency test,” Haley said.

“Trump,” claimed he “aced” that test, telling Haley, “They told me I’m 100% mental and I’m competent because I’m a man, that’s why a woman should never run our economy.”

Haley, a former United Nations ambassador, has long argued for mental competency tests for those over 75. Trump, 77, responded to this argument last month and claimed he would beat her in a cognitive test.

“In fact, a woman I know recently asked me for $83 million,” Johnson said, in reference to Trump’s recent defeat in longtime advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s defamation case.

The former president was ordered to pay a whopping $83.3 million last month for defaming the writer when he denied her allegation that he sexually assaulted her in the mid-1990s.

Taking aim at Trump’s mounting legal fees, Haley asked, “And you spent $50 million in your own legal fees. Do you need to borrow some money?”

Federal election filings posted last week showed Trump’s various political committees spent about $29 million on lawyers fees and legal consulting in the final six months of last year, bringing the total to roughly $50 million for the full year.

Johnson responded by listing off nicknames for Haley, a nod to the various nicknames Trump has called her and his other political opponents.

These included  “Nikki-Tikki-Tavi” and “Nikki Don’t Lose that Number” along with a nod to the star of “The Sixth Sense” — Haley Joel Osment.

“Nikki Haley Joel Osman, we call her,” Johnson said. ”‘Sixth Sense,’ remember that one… ‘I see dead people.’ ”

“Yeah, that’s what voters will say if they see you and Joe [Biden] on the ballot,” Haley quipped back.

The fake town hall was set in Haley’s home state of South Carolina, where she is seeking to see a boost in support following two disappointments in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary last month.

Johnson, as Trump, told Haley he would beat the former South Carolina governor in her state, to which Haley asked, “And did you win your home state in the last election?”

“I won Staten Island,” Johnson responded. “And the parts of Long Island where the fist fights happen, where they get out of the cars if you honk your horn at them.”

Trump lost in his home state of New York in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

Haley was put under the spotlight when an audience member, played by actor Ayo Edeberi, asked the White House hopeful, “I was just curious, what would you say was the main cause of the Civil War, um, and do you think it starts with an ‘s’ and ends with a ‘lavery?’”

“Yep, I probably should have said that at the time,” Haley responded, in reference to the controversy she faced in December after she failed to mention slavery as the cause of the Civil War.

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