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Nikki Haley makes surprise appearance on SNL, mocking Donald Trump and Joe Biden

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign event on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, in Columbia, S.C.
Artie Walker Jr.
/
AP
Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign event on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, in Columbia, S.C.

Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley has made a cameo appearance on NBC's Saturday Night Live, making jibes at former President Donald Trump over his age and mental competency.

The former South Carolina governor has been campaigning ahead of her home state's Republican primary later this month in an effort to close the gap in polling between herself and Trump.

Haley appeared in a comedy sketch set at a fake CNN Town Hall, where Trump, played by cast member James Austin Johnson, was being asked questions by an audience.

Making an unannounced appearance, Haley was introduced halfway through the sketch as "someone who describes herself as a concerned South Carolina voter." Haley then asks, "My question is, why won't you debate Nikki Haley?"

The fake Trump then replies "Oh, my God, it's her! The woman who was in charge of security on Jan. 6... Nancy Pelosi!" with a nod to Trump's recent seeming confusion over Pelosi and Haley.

"Are you doing OK, Donald? You might need a mental competency test," Haley says.

Haley has pitched herself as a younger, more capable alternative to both Trump and the Democratic frontrunner, President Joe Biden.

Trump tells Haley that he "aced" the competency test and says "They told me I'm 100% mental, and I'm competent because I'm a man."

He adds that women "should never run our economy. Women are terrible with money... in fact, a woman I know recently asked me for $83 million."

A New York civil jury recently awarded writer E. Jean Carroll $83 million in damages from Trump, ruling that the former president had defamed Carroll after she accused him of sexual assault.

A later joke about the 1999 movie The Sixth Sense leads to Trump saying "I see dead people." Haley replies: "Yeah, that's what voters will say if they see you and Joe [Biden] on the ballot."

Haley was also the subject of a barb by guest host Ayo Edebiri, who made fun of the former South Carolina governor for previously avoiding saying that the Civil War was caused by slavery.

"I was just curious, what would you say was the main cause of the Civil War, and do you think it starts with an 's' and ends with a 'lavery?' comic actor Edebiri asks. Haley replies, "Yep, I probably should have said that the first time".

In December at a New Hampshire town hall, Haley was asked what she thought caused the Civil War. She avoided saying "slavery," instead answering that it was about "the freedoms of what people could and couldn't do."

Haley also delivered the NBC show's signature opening line "Live from New York, it's Saturday night!" at the end of the skit.

"Had a blast tonight on SNL," Haley tweeted after her appearance.

"Know it was past Donald's bedtime so looking forward to the stream of unhinged tweets in the a.m."

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: February 4, 2024 at 12:00 AM EST
An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that E. Jean Carroll had accused Donald Trump of rape. She accused the former president of sexual assault.
It also incorrectly referred to the movie The Sixth Sense as The Six Sense.
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Sarah McCammon
Sarah McCammon is a National Correspondent covering the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast for NPR. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion and reproductive rights, and the intersections of politics and religion. She's also a frequent guest host for NPR news magazines, podcasts and special coverage.
Robbie Griffiths