Former President Trump drew a smattering of cheers and boos as he oversaw South Carolina’s chief college football rivalry on Saturday.
At the famed Palmetto Bowl, the Clemson University-University of South Carolina rivalry game, Trump attempted to upstage former U.N Ambassador Nikki Haley, the former state governor and a rising rival in the 2024 GOP presidential primary.
Trump was greeted at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia to cheers of “We want Trump!”, arriving as a guest of Gov. Henry McMaster (R-S.C.), who has endorsed the former president.
Trump was also joined by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Haley, herself a Clemson alumna, did not make an appearance.
Trump walked onto the field at halftime, and garnered a fierce wave of boos from the Clemson marching band, according to video.
South Carolina is a fierce battleground for the 2024 race, as Haley, Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) fight over the former supporters of Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who ended his presidential campaign this month.
An early primary state, South Carolina is expected to be key to any non-Trump candidate’s attempts at unseating the heavy favorite for the GOP nomination.
The city of Columbia and the area around the stadium were posted with pro-and anti-Trump messages, both lauding his reelection campaign and ribbing him for a 2020 loss which he failed to accept, the AP reported.
The Palmetto primary is Feb. 24, the fourth vote in the election cycle after Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
Haley has risen in the polls in recent weeks, but still trails Trump by a wide margin. In national polling averages, Trump takes a sizable 60 percent of support to DeSantis’ 13 percent and Haley’s 10.
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