OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has, up to now, avoided getting involved in the 2024 Republican presidential primaries in terms of making known his preferred candidate, but that has changed to an extent.
The 2016 presidential contender who lost out to then-political upstart Donald Trump teased, then delivered last week, what he said would be an important announcement about his position in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.
His endorsement would be highly sought after by any Republican candidate, as Paul also holds influence among many libertarians.
In a video posted to social media, Paul did not endorse a GOP presidential contender but did single out one whom he could never support.
“As I told you yesterday, I’m ready to say something about the presidential race. I’ve had a long relationship with Donald Trump, and there is a lot to like there. I’m also a big fan of a lot of the fiscal conservatism of Ron DeSantis. I think Vivek Ramaswamy has been an important voice. Also, I’ve listened to and met with the independent Bobby Kennedy,” the Kentucky Republican said.
“I’m not yet ready to make a decision, but I am ready to make a decision on someone who I can not support. I am announcing this morning that I am Never Nikki. If you go to NeverNikki.net, you can let her know that you’re not a supporter either,” he said.
“I don’t think any informed or knowledgeable libertarian or conservative should support Nikki Haley. I have seen her attitude towards our interventions overseas, and I’ve seen her involvement in the military-industrial complex. $8 million being paid to become part of the team, but I’ve also seen her indicate that she thinks you should be registered to use the internet — people posting ideas anonymously,” the senator said.
“I think she fails to understand that our republic was founded upon people like Ben Franklin, Sam Adams, Madison, John Jay, and others who, for fear of the government, posted routinely anonymously. I think her failure to really understand that, or to think that you should register through the government somehow for the internet, is something that should disqualify her in the minds of all libertarian-leaning conservatives,” he said.
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 12, 2024
Paul’s remarks came just ahead of the Iowa caucuses, which Trump won handily, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a distant second place and former South Carolina governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley in third. Ramaswamy dropped out of the race after the caucuses and immediately endorsed Trump.
Trump, meanwhile, continues to pick up big-time endorsements as his polling remains high, and his prospects for winning the 2024 GOP nomination appear to be a lock: Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has chosen to back Trump over his own state’s former governor.
“It’s time for us to unite our party so that we make sure that the only target we’re talking about is firing Joe Biden,” Scott emphasized after formally backing the former president at a Trump campaign rally in New Hampshire’s state capital city of Concord on Thursday.
“The best way for us to get rid of Joe Biden as our president is to unite our party now behind Donald Trump,” Scott, who ended his own 2024 presidential campaign in November, added.
Other former GOP candidates have also rallied around the former president.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum teamed up with Trump at a rally in Indianola, Iowa, last weekend as he backed Trump. And multi-millionaire biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy endorsed Trump on Monday night, as he suspended his own campaign following a dismal finish in Iowa’s caucuses. Ramaswamy joined Trump at a rally in Atkinson, New Hampshire, the next evening.
As for Haley, one of her supporters, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, has since backed off his prediction that she would win big just days ahead of his state’s primary.