US presidential hopeful Nikki Haley uses SNL cameo to mock Trump
Republican presidential candidate Haley made jibes about Trump’s age and mental competency on the TV show Saturday Night Live.
Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, made an appearance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live programme [Steven Senne/AP Photo]Published On 4 Feb 20244 Feb 2024
United States Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley made a surprise appearance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live and took a swipe at former President Donald Trump over his age, his mental fitness and his refusal to debate her.
Haley appeared in a segment set in a fake CNN town hall meeting in Columbia, South Carolina, where a fake Trump – played by cast member James Austin Johnson – was being asked questions by an audience.
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The former South Carolina governor has been campaigning ahead of her home state’s Republican primary on February 24 as she attempts to close the polling gap with Trump. Last month, Trump secured a decisive victory in the New Hampshire primary, beating rival Haley by a substantial margin.
In the sketch, Haley was introduced as “someone who describes herself as a concerned South Carolina voter” when called on to question the candidate.
“My question is why won’t you debate Nikki Haley?” she asked.
Trump, the frontrunner for the nomination, has avoided all debates so far in the campaign.
“Oh my God, it’s her, the woman who was in charge of security on January 6. It’s Nancy Pelosi,” the actor playing Trump responded, referring to the day in 2021 when Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol.
During a campaign speech in New Hampshire in January, Trump repeatedly seemed to confuse Haley, who was his ambassador to the United Nations, with Democratic former House speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Trump has accused Pelosi of turning down security he says his administration offered, but a special House committee that investigated the siege found no evidence to support that claim.
After the town hall moderators corrected the stand-in Trump, Haley asked, “Are you doing OK Donald? You might need a mental competency test.”
The Trump actor responded to Haley: “You know what I did. I took the test and I aced it, OK? Perfect score. They said I’m 100 percent mental.”
The former president has boasted in the past that he has “aced” cognitive tests.
A later joke about the movie The Sixth Sense prompted the actor playing Trump to say: “I see dead people.”
Haley replied: “That’s what voters will say if they see you and Joe [Biden] on the ballot.”
She later posted on X: “Had a blast tonight on SNL! Know it was past Donald’s bedtime so looking forward to the stream of unhinged tweets in the a.m.”
Haley has positioned herself as a younger, more capable alternative to Trump and the Democratic frontrunner, President Joe Biden, as well as the only anti-Trump Republican left in the race.
But if Trump wins in South Carolina, where Haley served two terms as governor, she will likely face mounting pressure to quit the race.
The final question in the skit came from SNL host Ayo Edebiri, who questioned Haley, now referred to as ambassador, about the root cause of the US Civil War.
The candidate, during a town hall in December in New Hampshire, was asked about the reason for the war, and she did not mention slavery in her response. She walked back her comments hours later.
“I was just curious, what would you say was the main cause of the Civil War?” Edebiri asked. “Do you think it starts with an ‘S’ and ends with a ‘lavery’?”
Haley replied: “Yep, I probably should have said that the first time.”