Former President Donald J. Trump essentially threatened Nikki Haley’s donors with excommunication from his political movement on Wednesday night, declaring that he would refuse contributions from anyone who donated to her primary campaign.
“When I ran for Office and won, I noticed that the losing Candidate’s ‘Donors’ would immediately come to me, and want to ‘help out,’” he wrote on his social media platform. “This is standard in Politics, but no longer with me.”
He then added, using his insulting nickname for Ms. Haley: “Anybody that makes a ‘Contribution’ to Birdbrain, from this moment forth, will be permanently barred from the MAGA camp. We don’t want them, and will not accept them, because we Put America First, and ALWAYS WILL!”
Mr. Trump made the post not long after Ms. Haley held a rally in North Charleston, S.C., as the primary campaign moves to that state from New Hampshire. At that rally, Ms. Haley told supporters that she had raised $1 million in the past day since promising she would stay in the race despite her loss in New Hampshire.
“Well in that case…donate here,” Ms. Haley wrote on X in response, with a link to her fund-raising page. A spokeswoman for her campaign said on Thursday that after Mr. Trump’s post, “We saw a surge of donations.” She did not respond when asked for numbers.
Ms. Haley’s campaign also promptly began selling T-shirts that read “Barred. Permanently.”
Ms. Haley has the support of a number of big donors, who began to coalesce around her late last year as they concluded that she was the most viable alternative to Mr. Trump. Her backers include the political network of the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch, among the wealthiest and most powerful forces in Republican politics in recent years.
Until shortly before the New Hampshire primary, Mr. Trump had often ignored Ms. Haley. But in the days leading up to the vote, he began to attack her relentlessly. He also began using (and butchering) her given name, Nimarata, and suggesting falsely that she wasn’t born in the United States, the same racist playbook he used against former President Barack Obama.
While Mr. Trump’s new threat about Ms. Haley’s donors was probably empty — politicians in close general elections tend not to refuse large contributions — his post reflected his fury at Ms. Haley for not dropping out and ceding the nomination to him as he, and many elected Republicans, seek to declare the race over.
But Mr. Trump’s warning ignored the fact that, to win in November, he will need to earn the support of many of the voters currently backing Ms. Haley — the independents and college-educated voters who don’t hold much power in Republican primaries but who will be essential in the general election.