Trump, Haley rally supporters on eve of South Carolina primary

Trump, Haley rally supporters on eve of South Carolina primary
Trump, Haley rally supporters on eve of South Carolina primary

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Winthrop Coliseum ahead of the South Carolina Republican presidential primary in Rock Hill, South Carolina February 23, 2024. — Reuters pic

ROCK HILL (United States), Feb 24 — Runaway favourite Donald Trump and his opponent Nikki Haley urged their supporters yesterday to turn out in big numbers in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary.

Trump is hoping to deal Haley a knockout punch in her home state in today’s vote.

“Tomorrow you will cast one of the most important votes of your entire life,” the former president told supporters at a speech in the town of Rock Hill.

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Meanwhile, Haley told a crowd in the coastal town of Mount Pleasant that “Everybody needs to go out to vote.”

“You’ve got to take five people. So make sure you tell your neighbours, your family,” she said, speaking against the backdrop of an aircraft carrier — a reminder of the fact that her husband serves in the Navy, which she points out often.

“Drag them to the polls as best as you can.”

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Trump, 77 and Haley, 52, are the last candidates standing in the state-by-state race for the Republican nomination, with the eventual nominee to take on Democratic President Joe Biden in the November election.

Haley lost the first four nominating contests to Trump. And despite being a popular former governor in the southeastern state, she’s down in polling by some 30 points ahead of Saturday’s vote.

Underscoring his confidence, Trump told his supporters on the eve of the vote: “Honestly, we’re not that worried.”

Polls open at 7.00am (1200 GMT) and close 12 hours later.

Haley, a more traditional conservative, has urged voters to ditch the “chaos” that follows the ex-president, though that message has not won over voters in polls held so far in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and the US Virgin Islands.

She has also called for a “new generational leader that focuses on the solutions of the future instead of all the issues of the past.”

Trump, however, is already sizing up a rematch against Biden, as no serious Democrats are challenging the incumbent president.

“We’re going to win this state and then we’re going to tell crooked Joe Biden, ‘You’re fired,’” he said.

Addressing the Black Conservative Federation later in the day, he told his audience that African Americans — a core Democratic constituency — would be better off under his administration than under Democrats, who he said had taken them for granted.

“Unlike racist Joe Biden, I’ve spent my entire life working hand-in-hand with Black Americans to create jobs, build buildings, invest in our communities and expand opportunity and freedom for citizens of every race, religion, colour and creed,” he said.

Trump was sued by the Justice Department in 1973 for allegedly not renting to Black tenants. The suit was settled two years later, without an admission of guilt but with Trump and his father signing a consent decree and agreeing for their company to implement anti-discrimination safeguards. — AFP

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