S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley plans to attend next month’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where New York billionaire Donald Trump is slated to become the GOP presidential nominee.
Haley will attend the convention alongside the state’s delegates, deputy chief of staff Rob Godfrey said Tuesday.
A critic of Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policy proposals, Haley had not decided earlier this month whether she would attend the convention.
Trump won South Carolina’s primary, taking 33 percent of the vote. He beat U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, who finished second and third, respectively, with roughly 22 percent of the vote each.
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Haley, a two-term Lexington Republican, backed Rubio in the S.C. primary. After Rubio quit the race, Haley said she would support Cruz. After Trump clinched the nomination, Haley said she will support the GOP nominee.
Speculation about Haley’s prospects as a potential GOP vice-presidential candidate intensified last year after she led an effort to remove the Confederate flag from the S.C. State House grounds. But the governor ruled out being Trump’s running mate in May.
While Haley will attend the attention, some top S.C. politicos have decided not to go.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca — who has publicly denounced Trump, vowing not to support him — will not attend. Neither will U.S. Reps. Mick Mulvaney of Indian Land nor Trey Gowdy of Spartanburg.
A spokesperson said Gowdy has not attended any conventions previously, making this year no different.
However, several high-profile S.C. Republicans, in addition to Haley, will attend.
▪ S.C. Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster of Columbia – the highest-ranking S.C. public official to endorse Trump — is a convention delegate.
▪ U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of North Charleston and U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson of Springdale, Tom Rice of Myrtle Beach and Mark Sanford of Charleston also will be at the convention.
A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan said the Laurens Republican has not decided yet whether to attend.