Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley's recent criticism of Donald Trump may be costing her support within the Republican Party and larger conservative movement. Haley recently said in an interview that she was "angry" with the way Trump had acted since the election, and that the former president had "let us down."
But as the Conservative Political Action Conference kicked off in Orlando, Florida, Thursday, Haley was nowhere to be seen. Once regarded as a top presidential prospect for Republicans in 2024, Haley's risky decision to cross Trump has apparently cost her standing in the hearts and minds of many power brokers in the conservative movement – a group that would be crucial for her campaign should she choose to run.
"It's a very fine line to walk for a long way between now and the Republican convention in 2024," GOP consultant Alex Conant said. "Trump might run again, so you have to treat him as a potential competitor. But even if he doesn't, he wants influence over who the party picks, and loyalty is what he values more than anything else. So it's hard to build your own identity separate from him while maintaining loyalty and his support."
After negative reaction to Haley's critical remarks began to surface on the right, the former ambassador tried to downplay their severity, suggesting that the media was attempting to create division among conservatives. Not long after that, it became public that Trump had denied Haley's request for a face-to-face meeting.
One Republican source that talked to The Hill suggested that Haley's criticism of Trump had been a strategy to try to "find a lane to run in" looking towards 2024, but that it is backfiring.
"Haley has never understood the president and seems to not understand where the base of the party is," the source said.