MANCHESTER, N.H. — Donald Trump is 77 years old. After he repeatedly mixed her up with Nancy Pelosi during his speech last night, Nikki Haley wants voters to know that.
“I’m not saying anything derogatory, but when you’re dealing with the pressures of the presidency, we can’t have someone else that we question whether they’re mentally fit to do this,” she said Saturday in Keene. “We can’t.”
On Fox News, she continued that focus: “These are people making decisions on the future of our economy. Do we really want them throwing out names and getting things wrong when they’re 80 and having to deal with Putin and Xi and Kim and North Korea? We can’t do that.”
And at a stop in Petersborough, she mentioned Trump’s prior habit of describing Barack Obama as if he’s the current president, a recurring story that drew enough attention late last year for Trump to address it on Truth Social, claiming it was deliberate.
“He got confused and said he was running against Obama — he never ran against Obama!” she said. “Don’t put our country at risk like this.”
Lines like these have been a long time coming: Haley launched her presidential bid calling for politicians over 75 to be required to take a “mental competency test,” a proposal she continues to tout in speeches.
But since coming in third in Iowa last week, the attack has sharpened. On the campaign trail this week, the former South Carolina governor has repeatedly mentioned Trump’s age, tying him in with President Joe Biden for good measure: “The majority of Americans think that having two 80-year-olds running for president is not what they want,” she told voters on Tuesday. And on Saturday, she noted how he “got confused” when discussing her culpability in security failures on January 6th as if she were speaker — even though “I wasn’t even in D.C. on Jan. 6. I wasn’t in office then.”
She’s not alone either: DeSantis has argued for months that Trump has lost a step. “If you put a side by side between him in 2016 riffing and really at the top of his game versus now in 2024, I mean, it’s just a different guy that you’re seeing there,” he told Iowa radio host Steve Deace earlier this month.