The JTA's headline says it all: "Nikki Haley broke with Trump. It could make her a Jewish GOP favorite in 2024."
Well, perhaps not all. "Broke" is a very friendly way of putting it; I might go with "lickspittle stops licking." But that's editorializing.
In any event, what do we make of this decision by Haley?
Let's start with the Jewish angle, since that's how JTA frames it. I do think that Haley is well-positioned to be the Jewish GOP favorite in 2024, since she's followed a similar trajectory as most GOP Jews with regard to Trump. Start by loudly disavowing him, shift to "well, but look at what he does for Israel," crest at treating him like their God. Now that we're falling off that peak, I suspect they'll settle back into the groove of "sure he wasn't perfect, but Israel!", and Haley, viewed as the human instantiation of Trump's Israel advocacy, is well positioned to take advantage of that. The incongruity of going from genuflecting at Trump's magnificence to "breaking" with him will be easily overlooked, since much of the Jewish GOP will be doing the same contortion.
But what about Haley's 2024 prospects more generally? Certainly, there's risk -- as the last few weeks have shown, the GOP is still very much Trump's party. Nonetheless, I think this is a savvy move. Simply put: Haley wants to be President in 2024. That won't happen if Trump is strong enough in the GOP to win the Republican nomination. So Haley might as well act as if he won't be -- if he is strong, her support for him will be moot, and if he's weak, she has the advantage of presenting a clean ("clean") break.
Moreover, Haley doesn't currently hold elected office, so she doesn't have to worry about a primary backlash or other ways of the Trumpist base directly humiliating her. And even if Trump does hold his position, he's perhaps surprisingly tolerant of welcoming former adversaries back into his orbit if they grovel hard enough (see Graham, Lindsey). Haley may be saying that "we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again," but I guarantee that if Trump remains the prime 2024 GOP power figure, Nikki Haley will absolutely be eager to do it all over again. And fortunately for her, that puts her in the same position as 95% of the GOP.
Well played, Haley. Well played.