Nikki Haley says she’s tough in high heels — but is poking fun at Ron DeSantis over reports he needs a little lift.
The Republican presidential candidate used late-night TV to win some yuks over persistent rumors that her GOP rival wears boots with secret padding to make him look taller.
“I’ve always said, ‘Don’t wear them if you can’t run in them,’ Haley told Charlamagne Tha God on “The Daily Show” late Wednesday. So we’ll see if he can run in them.”
Haley suggested that the Florida governor is embarrassed by the questions about his stature.
“I’ve always talked about my high heels,” she added. “I’ve never hid that from anybody.”
DeSantis has struggled with slumping poll numbers and negative reports from the campaign trail for months as Haley’s campaign builds momentum.
The latest mini-crisis to hit the once-promising campaign has come over gibes that DeSantis wears boots that are equipped with special heel lifts to give him a couple of inches extra oomph.
Social media posts ridiculing DeSantis have garnered millions of views as loyalists of front-runner former President Donald Trump say they expose his prickly personality.
DeSantis was forced to answer questions about the supposed heel implants from otherwise friendly right-wing podcast host Patrick Bet-David, who even offered to gift him a pair of flat-soled shoes.
“Those are just standard, off-the-rack … boots,” DeSantis said Wednesday ahead of Haley’s late night appearance. “[I’m] 5-11.”
Haley, the only female candidate in the GOP race, may have an edge over male rivals in that few voters would question a woman wearing high heels. They might see a man’s heels as a sign of insecurity or lack of confidence.
The unlikely footwear fracas erupted as Haley has surged into at least a tie with DeSantis for second place in the Republican presidential primary race, and even leapfrogged past him in some polls.
Haley has benefitted from two strong debate performances, with a third clash looming in Miami next Wednesday.
A poll of her early voting home state of South Carolina shows her far ahead of DeSantis. A similar recent survey of Iowa, where DeSantis has staked his campaign on a strong showing, showed the two in a dead heat.
Trump remains the dominant front-runner in polls and the overwhelming favorite to win the GOP nomination for the third straight time.
Some analysts say an alternative candidate could eventually give Trump a run for his money if they can clear out the rest of the field, although that seems unlikely for now.