Nikki Haley predicted that Donald Trump will lose the Republican primary because voters are too "smart" to nominate a "convicted criminal."
During an interview with Face the Nation, Haley was pushed on her pledge to support Trump even if he is convicted of a crime.
Most of the primary candidates, including Haley, raised their hands with apparent reluctance when asked the question at the first Republican debate.
Attempting to thread the needle, Haley said she was merely re-iterating a pledge to back the nominee whoever it happens to be - and she doesn't think it will be Trump.
"What you saw were candidates on that stage said that they would do exactly what they signed and pledged to do which is support the Republican nominee. That’s what we are saying. I don’t think President Trump’s going to be the nominee," she said.
She said she believes Republicans are too "smart" to nominate Trump if he is convicted, suggesting Trump is doomed to lose a general election if that happens.
"It- first of all, he’s innocent until proven guilty. But you are implying that the American people are not smart," she said.
"The American people are not going to vote for a convicted criminal. The American people are going to vote for someone who can win a general election. I have faith in the American people. They know what they need to do."
Haley has enjoyed a modest poll bump after her performance at the first Republican primary debate, which Trump skipped.
Although he was criticized for his absence, Trump's lead in the primary has continued to expand - with Ron DeSantis cratering to 13 points in a new Wall Street Journal poll.
With Trump overshadowing the primary, his Republican rivals have insisted that nominating him will end in disaster - and four more years of Biden.
Of course, it's impossible to predict how the public will respond to the unprecedented scenario of a major presidential candidate being prosecuted and potentially imprisoned.
But the decision to make Trump take a mugshot has been widely seen as an unforced error by the Democratic party, and there is speculation that the left's prosecutorial overreach will backfire. Notably, despite everything being thrown at him, Trump is still neck-and-neck with Biden in the polls.
Does Haley think the 60% of Republicans backing Trump are stupid?