Freedom Caucus staple Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) announced on Wednesday he will back former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador Nikki Haley over Donald Trump in the next presidential race, saying the Republican Party is in need of a “new vision.”
The very MAGA Norman’s endorsement comes a day after Haley officially announced her bid to secure the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election with a Twitter post and video.
“In 2016, President Trump was exactly who the Republican Party needed at the time. For too long, Republicans had been marginalized. Then Trump came along and reminded us how to fight what we believe,” Norman told Fox News. “We are better off now for what President Trump accomplished while he was president.”
“However, the Republican Party has entered a season of change. We’re at a pivotal juncture, and most of the Republicans I know are now looking for new leadership with a new vision at the top of the ticket. Nikki Haley has that vision, and she’s going to be an outstanding President,” Norman continued.
Norman appears to be the first South Carolina lawmaker — and the first member of Congress — to publicly back Haley’s bid for presidency.
His support for Haley comes as a surprise given Norman is famously a loyal Trump ally. He was one of the few lawmakers who did not vote to certify the 2020 election and —- as TPM first reported — Norman went so far as to call on the outgoing president to impose martial law nearly two weeks after Jan. 6.
“Our LAST HOPE is invoking Marshall Law!! PLEASE URGE TO PRESIDENT TO DO SO!!,” Norman wrote in a text to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on January 17, 2021, three days before Joe Biden was set to take office.
Norman also recently received former president Trump’s endorsement for his own re-election in the 2022 midterms.
But Norman, nonetheless, is apparently ready to move on.
“You always know exactly where Nikki stands. From her time in the statehouse and as governor, there was never a shred of doubt she would do what she believed was right for the people she served,” Norman told Fox. “Even as governor, everyone knew she was destined for bigger things.”