MAGA hardliner Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) is picking a side in the 2024 Republican primary, deriding former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley as "Bush in heels" after she became the first candidate to challenge President Trump.
Haley, 51, has pitched herself as representing a new generation of leadership, urging Republicans to move beyond "the stale ideas and faded names of the past" at her first campaign rally Wednesday.
In response to that rhetoric, Greene tied Haley to the conventional brand of Republican politics that was sidelined in 2016 with the rise of President Trump, whose jabs at the Bush dynasty -- and the "forever wars" that President George W. Bush launched -- ushered in a more isolationist, "America First" GOP.
In her campaign launch video, Haley pitched herself as a Reagan-esque leader who would keep America's enemies at bay and emphasized her sex, saying, "when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels."
"If we wanted a 'Bush in heels,' Republicans would vote for Liz Cheney," Greene quipped.
Former House Rep. Liz Cheney, the daughter of Bush's vice president Dick Cheney, lost her seat in Wyoming last year over a backlash to her anti-Trump politics.
Like Haley, Cheney is known for her hawkish foreign policy views. "America First" Republicans like Greene, on the other hand, are known for being hawkish on immigration and skeptical of foreign entanglements, especially in Russia's war with Ukraine.
Greene also knocked Haley, a first-generation American of Indian descent, over her moderate positions on immigration and culture war controversies, noting Haley "refused to support a transgender bathroom bill to protect children" when she was governor of South Carolina.
"Nikki Haley is just another George (or Jeb!) Bush. She is weak on the border, doesn’t want a wall, claimed 'Legal Immigrants are more patriotic than most Americans these days,' and she defended Obama when Pres. Trump criticized his terrible open-borders policy," Greene wrote.
Greene's criticism echoes rhetoric President Trump has deployed against top rival Ron DeSantis (R), whom Trump has labeled a "RINO globalist."
After Haley's campaign launch this week, Trump highlighted "The Real Nikki Haley" and her past support of entitlement cuts.
It was a preview of an attack that Trump -- whose support of Social Security and Medicare has long put him at odds with the GOP -- may use in the future against DeSantis, seen as Trump's most formidable, perhaps only, primary threat.
Haley, who served as Trump's U.N. ambassador, has typically trailed the pack of hypothetical primary candidates.
Trump -- who could benefit from a divided GOP field -- welcomed Haley's entry into the race, saying, "The more the merrier."