The idea of Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, replacing Vice President Mike Pence on the 2020 Republican ticket has been a source of rumor and speculation in political media for some time. In trying to silence that chatter, however, Haley may have instead fueled the fire.
On Wednesday, Haley tweeted a condemnation of "false rumors" and expressed her full support for Pence.
"Enough of the false rumors," Haley wrote. "Vice President Pence has been a dear friend of mine for years. He has been a loyal and trustworthy VP to the President. He has my complete support."
Haley, who was South Carolina's governor for six years before joining the Trump administration, left her post as UN ambassador on good terms with the president. But Trump has made it clear that Pence will be his vice president if he is reelected.
"I love Nikki," Trump said on Fox Business. "She's endorsed me. She's my friend. She's a part of my campaign. But Mike has been a great vice president. He's a hundred percent."
The Washington Examiner reported that the White House would've preferred Haley not amplify rumors by tweeting about them. Rob Crilly writes:
Her words provoked much head-scratching at the White House, where no one had been talking about an alternative to Pence on the Trump 2020 ticket.
In fact, her words only increased speculation about what she might be planning after stepping down from her post as permanent representative to the United Nations last year.
"The only person talking about Nikki Haley as VP is Nikki Haley herself," is how one senior administration official put it with thinly veiled irritation.
Haley has not disclosed her future ambitions since stepping down from the Trump administration in 2018. Her resignation letter referenced a desire to return to the private sector. She would likely be viewed as a top Republican presidential candidate in 2024 if she decided to run.