Republican White House contender Nikki Haley on Friday stepped up attacks on Donald Trump over his age — without naming the ex-president directly — calling on conservatives at a national forum to trust a “new generation” of leaders.
The former South Carolina governor sharply criticized Republican losses in recent elections, during which 76-year-old Trump tried to serve as kingmaker.
“If you’re tired of losing, put your trust in a new generation,” Haley urged attendees at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held just outside Washington.
Haley, 51, who Trump tapped in 2017 to serve as United Nations ambassador, is the first candidate of note to challenge the billionaire for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
She has so far centered her attacks on her competitor’s age, calling again Friday for a “competency test” for politicians older than 75.
Trump and Haley are giving dueling addresses at the conference, with the former president scheduled to take the stage late Saturday afternoon.
More than two years after leaving the White House, Trump’s hold on the party is still evident, with the prestigious closing speech reserved for him once again.
Several members of his family have already given speeches at the conference singing his praise.
Trump’s keynote is likely to reprise the “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) agenda that swept him to power in 2016, taking on border security, gun rights, “woke” attitudes and other red meat conservative issues.