Fact Check

Did Trump Confuse Nikki Haley with Nancy Pelosi in Campaign Speech?

In a January 2024 campaign speech, Trump appeared to blame rival GOP candidate Nikki Haley for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Published Jan 23, 2024

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During a Jan. 19, 2024, campaign speech in Concord, New Hampshire, former U.S. President Donald Trump said rival GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley was "in charge of security" during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

This was a verbal gaffe. Based on what he has said on other occasions, Trump clearly confused Republican Nikki Haley for then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, who he has often claimed (albeit incorrectly) was in charge of U.S. Capitol security on Jan. 6, 2021.

Former U.S. President and current Republican presidential primary candidate Donald Trump made a baffling statement that caused consternation and drew instant jeers on social media during a Jan. 19, 2024, presidential campaign stop in Concord, New Hampshire. Pivoting suddenly from criticizing rival GOP contender Nikki Haley for attracting smaller crowds than he, Trump then appeared to blame her, by name, for the violent Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his own supporters:  

By the way, they never report the crowd on January 6. You know Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, did you know they destroyed all of the information, all of the evidence, everything, deleted and destroyed all of it? All of it. Because of lots of things like Nikki Haley is in charge of security. We offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guards, whatever they want. They turned it down. They don't want to talk about that. These are very dishonest people.

Obviously, Trump was confused and didn't mean to accuse Haley of something she could not have done. On previous occasions, Trump had made that accusation against then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, who he falsely claims was in charge of U.S. Capitol security and turned down a Trump administration offer of National Guard assistance on the day of the Jan. 6 riot.

Trump obliquely admitted to the error the next day when he posted a message on Truth Social repeating the same accusations about Pelosi, not Haley:

(@realDonaldTrump/Truth Social)

For her part, Haley, whom, ironically, Trump had called a "birdbrain" during the same New Hampshire speech, questioned Trump's mental fitness at a Keene, New Hampshire, rally the following day.


Evon, Dan. “Did Pelosi Prevent National Guard from Responding to Capitol Attack?” Snopes, 27 July 2021, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/pelosi-national-guard-capitol/.

“Nikki Haley Questions Whether Trump Is ‘Mentally Fit’ after He Confuses Her with Nancy Pelosi.” NBC News, 20 Jan. 2024, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2024-election/nikki-haley-trump-mentally-fit-nancy-pelosi-rcna134887.

Staff, The Hill. “Trump Holds Rally in New Hampshire Days before GOP Primary: Watch Live.” The Hill, 20 Jan. 2024, https://thehill.com/video-clips/4418244-trump-rally-new-hampshire-days-before-primary-watch-live/.

The Capitol Riot: A Chronology | National Security Archive. https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/news/foia/2022-01-06/capitol-riot-chronology. Accessed 20 Jan. 2024.

Trump Calls Republican Rival Haley ‘Birdbrain’ during New Hampshire Rally. 2024. www.independent.co.uk, https://www.independent.co.uk/tv/news/donald-trump-news-haley-birdbrain-b2481997.html.

“Trump Confuses Nikki Haley with Nancy Pelosi When Talking about Jan. 6.” NBC News, 20 Jan. 2024, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-confuses-nikki-haley-pelosi-talking-jan-6-rcna134863.

David Emery is a West Coast-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.