Addressing supporters in Keene, New Hampshire, Saturday, Haley called out Trump’s remarks while arguing that the presidential contest should not be a showdown between two men near or above 80 years old.
“We see that [President Joe] Biden has changed so much in two years,” Haley said. “But last night, Trump is at a rally and he’s going on and on mentioning me multiple times as to why I didn’t take security during the Capitol riots. Why didn’t I handle Jan. 6 better? I wasn’t even in D.C. on Jan. 6. I wasn’t in office then.”
“They’re saying he got confused, that he was talking about something else, he’s talking about Nancy Pelosi,” she continued. “He mentioned me multiple times in that scenario. The concern I have is — 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. We can’t.”
Trump’s comments came during a rally in Concord, New Hampshire, on Friday, in which he repeatedly bashed Haley, calling her a “globalist fool” and suggesting he would not pick her to be his running mate should he win the Republican presidential nomination.
Speaking on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol amid the more than 90-minute speech, Trump said: “Nikki Haley, you know they, do you know they destroyed all of the information, all of the evidence, everything, deleted and destroyed all of it.”
“All of it, because of lots of things like Nikki Haley is in charge of security,” he continued. “We offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guard, whatever they want. They turned it down. They don’t want to talk about that. These are very dishonest people.”
Haley’s and Trump’s campaigns did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News. Haley has called for federal officeholders over 75 to take a mental competency test, taking aim at both Biden and Trump.
But her comments Saturday were some of her strongest, if not her strongest yet, about Trump’s ability to serve.
Trump has previously accused Pelosi of refusing additional security his administration offered to provide for Jan. 6. The House select committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attack found no evidence to support the claim and wrote in its final report that Trump’s acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller “directly refuted this when he testified under oath.”
“I mean, I think he made a pretty apparent gaffe last night,” Betsy Ankney, Haley’s campaign manager, said at a Bloomberg News forum Saturday afternoon. “But the bottom line is she has been making the argument for months. It was in her announcement speech about how we need mental competency tests for politicians over the age of 75, how we need a new generation of leader. And so that’s what we’re continuing to focus on.”