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Team Trump’s Second Win
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Team Trump’s Second Win

Despite high turnout from independent voters, the former president won the New Hampshire primary.

Happy Wednesday! Our most heartfelt condolences to University of Georgia fans around the country. Bulldog mascot UGA X—better known as Que—passed away peacefully on Tuesday at the age of 10, after presiding over a 91-19 school football record. He was the winningest mascot in school history.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • The Turkish parliament voted on Tuesday to approve Sweden’s bid for NATO membership, ending Ankara’s nearly two-year block on the Nordic country’s entrance to the defensive alliance. If Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signs the measure—as he’s widely expected to do—Hungary’s opposition will be the last obstacle to Sweden joining the consensus-based alliance. Hungarian President Viktor Orbán and his government have pointed to Stockholm’s criticism of Budapest’s democratic backsliding as the reason for their opposition to Sweden’s bid. On Tuesday, Orbán invited Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to Budapest for negotiations over Sweden’s accession.
  • The U.S. conducted airstrikes against Iranian-backed militias in Iraq on Tuesday, the Pentagon announced, in response to an attack on the Al-Asad Air Base that injured four American servicemembers over the weekend. “Today, at President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces conducted necessary and proportionate strikes on three facilities used by the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia group and other Iran-affiliated groups in Iraq,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement released yesterday. “These precision strikes are in direct response to a series of escalatory attacks against U.S. and Coalition personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-sponsored militias.”
  • U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced Tuesday that the U.S. had conducted airstrikes in Somalia over the weekend, killing three fighters belonging to the country’s al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group, al-Shabaab. AFRICOM said the strikes were carried out at the behest of the Somali government, and claimed that no civilians were injured or killed.
  • Russia launched a barrage of more than 41 missiles into Ukraine on Tuesday morning, killing one person and injuring 22 others in Kyiv and leaving at least seven people dead and nearly 50 wounded in the eastern city of Kharkiv. The Ukrainian military said Ukrainian forces successfully shot down 21 of the incoming missiles, and that others did not hit their intended targets. The strike is part of a recent uptick in Russian missile attacks on urban areas since the end of last year. 
  • Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday pardoned two lawmakers who had been convicted of abuse of power and arrested earlier this month for their actions in 2007. Former Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński and his deputy Maciej Wąsik, both members of Duda’s minority Law and Justice (PiS) party, were arrested as part of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s attempts to root out PiS loyalists and corruption in government. Duda had previously pardoned the two lawmakers in 2015, but the Polish Supreme Court ruled the clemency invalid.
  • The federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday rejected a request by Donald Trump’s legal team to lift a gag order placed on the former president in the federal case regarding his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The ruling, issued unanimously by the 11 judges on the D.C. court of appeals, leaves in place a gag order initially placed on Trump by Judge Tanya Chutkan in October to prevent the former president from making inflammatory public statements about certain people involved in the legal proceeding.
  • Trump is projected to win the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary on Tuesday night, pulling nearly 55 percent of the vote and leading former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley by 11 points with 95 percent of the vote counted. Haley, who won about 43 percent of the vote, vowed to continue her campaign for the nomination, and looks to compete next in the South Carolina primary on February 24.
  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its Oscar nominees on Tuesday, with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer leading all films with 13 nominations, including for Best Picture. 

‘I Don’t Get Too Angry, I Get Even’

Donald Trump delivers remarks alongside supporters, campaign staff, and family members during his primary night rally at the Sheraton in Nashua, New Hampshire, on January 23, 2024. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Donald Trump delivers remarks alongside supporters, campaign staff, and family members during his primary night rally at the Sheraton in Nashua, New Hampshire, on January 23, 2024. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

When former President Donald Trump took the stage to declare victory in Iowa last week, his tone was almost gracious and his demeanor practically cheerful. Having routed his closest competitor, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, by a commanding 30 points, the former president must have been in a generous mood. He thanked his team. He thanked his family and fondly remembered his recently deceased mother-in-law. He urged Republican unity: “It would be so nice.” 

So much for that. When Trump spoke last night after besting former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, gone was the magnanimity and “unity” was nowhere to be found. “I said, ‘I can go up and I can say to everybody, ‘Oh thank you for the victory, it’s wonderful,’” he told supporters in Nashua. “Or I can go up and say, ‘Who the hell was the imposter that went up on the stage before and, like, claimed the victory?’ She did very poorly,” he said, referring to Haley’s primary-night speech. “Actually, she had to win. The governor [Chris Sununu] said, ‘She’s gonna win. She’s gonna win. She’s gonna win.’ Then she, she failed badly.” Later, he offered a succinct summation of his personal ethos: “I don’t get too angry. I get even.”

Despite sweeping the hamlet of Dixville Notch with all six of its votes just past midnight on Tuesday morning, Haley’s good fortune did not extend to the rest of the state. She ran closer to Trump than the most recent polling suggested she might—losing by about 11 points rather than 20—but Trump still emerged victorious from the Granite State. While Haley is already facing immense pressure from the Trump-backing Republican establishment to drop out of the race,  she struck a triumphant—even confrontational—tone before supporters Tuesday night. “New Hampshire is first in the nation, it is not the last in the nation,” she told supporters. “This race is far from over, there are dozens of states left to go. And the next one is my sweet state of South Carolina!” Her campaign tweeted out a clip of the speech with a hashtag: #BringIt.

(via Joe Schueller)
(via Joe Schueller)

Haley has for months made doling out “hard truths” about her former boss part of her stump speech—that “rightly or wrongly, chaos follows him,” for example—but over the last several days, her “hard truths” have found a sharper edge. As the Dispatch Politics crew reported from the trail, when she argued that Trump’s campaign ads about her were lies, she added the novel, “Shocker, right?” On Friday, Trump confused Haley with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and blamed Haley, not Pelosi, for the lack of security at the Capitol on January 6. Haley seized on what appeared to be a senior moment. “It’s things like that,” she told reporters Saturday. “These things happen. Because guess what, when you’re 80, that’s what happens. You’re just not as sharp as you used to be.”

As Haley was gripping and grinning all across the state with popular New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, Trump split his time between the Granite State and the courtroom, attending his defamation trial in New York in person despite having no legal obligation to be there. He averaged one event per day, holding his signature rallies with campaign surrogates like Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York and biotech entrepreneur and former GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy.

But the less-rigorous schedule didn’t keep the former president from running up the numbers in New Hampshire—the state that kicked off Trump’s march to the GOP nomination in 2016. With 86 percent of the vote counted, Trump was leading the Granite State by roughly 11 points this time around, capturing 54.6 percent of the vote—right around the RealClearPolitics polling average of 55.8 percent in the days leading up to the primary. He managed to replicate his strong performance in Iowa on Tuesday, handily winning non-college-educated voters, rural voters, and self-identifying conservatives. Though the mixed makeup of New Hampshire’s semi-closed primary electorate—roughly 51 percent Republican and 43 percent independent, according to exit polls—helped to boost Haley’s numbers, it wasn’t enough to overcome Trump’s red wall.

Just as she did in Iowa, Haley did her best Tuesday to strike an optimistic tone. Though she conceded the New Hampshire race to Trump, she was quick to clarify that didn’t mean she was done. She doubled down on her attacks on Trump, particularly his age, drawing an equivalence between the 77-year-old and President Joe Biden, who is 81 years old. “The first party to retire its 80-year-old candidate will be the party that wins this election,” she said. 

That persistence was echoed in a Haley campaign memo leaked to the press ahead of the vote on Tuesday. “Everyone should take a deep breath,” wrote Haley’s campaign manager, Betsey Ankney, promising that Haley would be running through the tape in South Carolina and beyond. “The campaign has not even begun in any of these states yet. No ads have been aired and candidates aren’t hustling on the ground. A month in politics is a lifetime. We’re watching democracy in action. We’re letting the people have a voice. That’s how this is supposed to work.”

At his election night party in Nashua, Trump reveled in his victory—but seemed torn over whether to pivot to the general election or continue bashing his last remaining GOP challenger. Flanked by surrogates including Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia, Trump remarked that no Republican candidate had ever won both Iowa and New Hampshire and not secured the nomination. He also referred to the U.S. as a “failing country,” pinning the blame squarely on Biden and the Democrats. “They must hate our country,” he said. “Because there’s no other reason that they can be doing the things they do.” He seemed to reserve a special ire, however, for the former ambassador who won’t move out of his way.

Despite Trump’s victory, the vote on Tuesday belied some concerning numbers for a general election matchup with Biden. Haley beat Trump by a 22-point margin among independent voters, according to NBC News exit polls—a fact Trump brushed off as a bug in New Hampshire’s system. “She only got 25 percent of the Republican votes,” he said in his victory speech. “Tremendous numbers of independents came out because, in this state, because you have a governor that doesn’t frankly know what the hell he’s doing in this state, in the Republican primary, they accept Democrats to vote.” As our own Alex Demas noted last night, registered Democrats are in fact not eligible to vote in the New Hampshire primary—they would have had to change their party registration months ago—but that didn’t stop Trump from casting the results as an attempt to stop his rightful nomination. “Now they’re only voting because they want to make me look as bad as possible,” he said.

While this rhetoric may play well in a Republican primary contest, the GOP base alone will not be enough for Trump to recapture White House in the fall—he’d need support from the more moderate Republicans and independent voters that swung for Haley. And while some will certainly “come home” as the general election draws closer, the results last night seemed to indicate that many will not. Just 13 percent of Haley’s voters said they would still be “satisfied” if Trump wins the nomination, according to CBS News exit polling, and 39 percent of Haley’s voters said they supported her primarily because they disliked Trump.

Looking ahead, the next month is likely to be one of the most politically difficult of Haley’s life. While Trump moves on to Nevada for a caucus that Haley won’t participate in, Haley will head to her home state of South Carolina. And after Biden—fresh off his own primary win in New Hampshire—focused his sights on a general election against Trump, Haley is likely to face increasing pressure from Republicans to drop out and join the team. Even as votes were still being counted Tuesday night, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas declared he’d “seen enough” and that, “to beat Biden, Republicans need to unite around a single candidate.”

According to reporting from our own Mike Warren and David Drucker on the site today, Haley has no plans of doing that anytime soon. “Haley served in Trump’s Cabinet as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, but sources tell us she has no interest in serving as Trump’s vice president or in a second administration,” they write. “And she simply is not interested in being a perpetual candidate—playing it safe to better position herself for another White House run in 2028. Her goal, these sources insist, is 2024 or bust.”

Haley has already lost the backing of two high-profile South Carolina pols—Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Nancy Mace—whose careers she helped launch. Mace, who bested a Trump-backed primary challenger with Haley’s support in 2022, announced Monday she was endorsing the former president. “I don’t see eye to eye perfectly with any candidate,” Mace said. “And until now I’ve stayed out of it. But the time has come to unite behind our nominee.”

The cruel irony of Scott—whom Haley first appointed to fill a vacant Senate seat in 2012—supporting Trump wasn’t lost on the former president, who used Scott’s presence at his victory speech as an opportunity to needle Haley. “Did you ever think that she actually appointed you, Tim, and, think of it, appointed you and you’re the senator of her state and she endorsed me,” he said, appearing to actually refer to Scott, not Haley. “You must really hate her.”

Scott approached the mic, looked the former president in the eye, and said, “I just love you!”

Worth Your Time 

  • The Wall Street Journal published an excerpt from Argentinian President Javier Milei’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and we think it’s well worth a read. The speech served as a warning to the Western world of the perils of “collectivism”—a theory experienced first-hand by Argentina, and, as loyal TMD readers will remember, what Milei promised to defeat throughout his successful election campaign. He closed his speech with a clarion call for freedom—and an ovation for capitalism. “I would like to leave a message for all businesspeople here and for those who are not here in person but are following from around the world,” he said. “Do not be intimidated, either by the political caste or by parasites who live off the state. Do not surrender to a political class that only wants to stay in power and retain its privileges. You are social benefactors. You’re heroes. You’re the creators of the most extraordinary period of prosperity we’ve ever seen. Let no one tell you that your ambition is immoral. If you make money, it’s because you offer a better product at a better price, thereby contributing to general well-being. Do not surrender to the advance of the state. The state is not the solution. The state is the problem itself. You are the true protagonists of this story, and rest assured that as from today, Argentina is your staunch unconditional ally. Thank you very much and long live freedom, damn it.”

Presented Without Comment 

An exchange on Fox News between anchor Harris Faulkner and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu:

Faulkner: I want to see you debate Donald Trump.

Sununu: I would pay—I would pay to do that. 

Faulkner: Oh my goodness.

Sununu: If that coward would get on that stage with anybody. Any of us would love to—

Faulkner: No name calling. 

Sununu: Please. 

Faulkner: We don’t do the name calling.

Sununu: No, he’s a coward!

Faulkner: I thought you were going to be better! 

Sununu: You cannot say you’re in a presidential campaign but be too afraid to get on a debate stage and defend—

Faulkner: Alright, we gotta go. Thank you for being here.

Also Presented Without Comment

Politico: Donors Sue No Labels Over Possible Third-Party Presidential Ticket, Alleging ‘Bait and Switch’

Toeing the Company Line 

  • What was it like on the ground in New Hampshire on primary night? Does a second-place finish spell doom for Haley’s campaign? Is the primary over? A mustachioed Declan was joined by Steve, Drucker, Chris, Andrew, and Mike to discuss all that and more on last night’s Dispatch Live (🔒). Members who missed the conversation can catch a rerun—either video or audio-only—by clicking here.
  • In the newsletters: Nick explored why (🔒) Nikki Haley of all people has given Trump his strongest electoral challenge in eight years.
  • On the podcasts: Sarah and Jonah dove into the Chevron deference case on The Remnant.  
  • On the site today: Mike and Drucker report from New Hampshire on Haley’s next steps, Kevin looks at the Republican Party’s recent approach to the abortion issue, and Jonah argues that the judicial branch is being forced to pick up Congress’ slack.

Let Us Know

After losing the first two primary contests, do you think Nikki Haley should stay in the race?

James Scimecca works on editorial partnerships for The Dispatch, and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he served as the director of communications at the Empire Center for Public Policy. When James is not promoting the work of his Dispatch colleagues, he can usually be found running along the Potomac River, cooking up a new recipe, or rooting for a beleaguered New York sports team.

Mary Trimble is the editor of The Morning Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, she interned at The Dispatch, in the political archives at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), and at Voice of America, where she produced content for their French-language service to Africa. When not helping write The Morning Dispatch, she is probably watching classic movies, going on weekend road trips, or enjoying live music with friends.