The Strange 'Gift' Trump's Team Supposedly Sent Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley's relationship with Donald Trump has been up and down over the years, but with Haley's announcement that she was running for president, the relationship is definitely on the downswing. Therefore, the fact that Trump's team reportedly left Haley a gift at her hotel room in Des Moines, Iowa, could seem like an olive branch and an attempt to repair the relationship — that is until you hear what the gift was. 

Haley posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, a picture of the gift — a birdcage with a package of birdseed on top of it with a note on the cage that said, "From: Trump Campaign." She wrote, "After a day of campaigning, this is the message waiting for me outside my hotel room..." She also added some hashtags: "#PrettyPatheticTryAgain" and "#YouJustMadeMyCaseForMe."

If Haley getting a birdcage has you confused, it seems like it's a reference to Trump referring to Haley as "Birdbrain." After the second presidential debate, which Trump did not attend and Haley did well in, he posted about Haley on Truth Social, "MAGA, or I, will never go for Birdbrain Nikki Haley. No loyalty, plenty of lies! [...] Birdbrain doesn't have the TALENT or TEMPERAMENT to do the job."

Some think Nikki Haley staged the birdcage delivery from Trump

There wasn't any detail behind why "birdbrain" was Donald Trump's chosen insult for Nikki Haley, but the timing of the birdcage ostensibly left by someone from Trump's staff at Haley's door does match up — he posted about her with the insult on September 29 and the birdcage showed up just a couple days later. Beyond seeming to reference the "birdbrain" insult, there's not much else we know about what the intended impact was with the "gift."

Some people think that the whole thing was a hoax. One person wrote on X in reply to Haley's post, "I'll take things that never happen for $5000, Alex." But some definitely believed it was Trump's doing. Gavin J. Smith, public relations professional and political strategist from South Carolina, wrote: "Having worked for [Trump], I've seen stuff like this done many times. It def came from the Trump campaign — I have no doubt."

Marc Caputo, political reporter for The Messenger, corroborated Nikki Haley's story about the Trump birdcage "gift." He posted, "Some folks are saying this was a hoax, a false flag and/or that Trump's camp didn't leave this[.] It was the Trump camp." He'd previously posted about the birdcage, saying he had gotten info straight from Trump's team, "At 1:30 am, the Trump camp texted me the birdcage-and-feed photo in front of Haley's Des Moines hotel door."

Nikki Haley joins a large group of rivals with derogatory nicknames from Trump

However, the support of Nikki Haley's claim didn't convince everyone. One person replied to political reporter Marc Caputo: "You did fall for a hoax. If in fact you got a text message, I feel very confident in saying that it was from a Haley staffer pretending to be a Trumper." While some believed it was staged, others were more worried about the fact that a presidential candidate's hotel room information could be so seemingly easy to obtain. 

Trump has continued with the "birdbrain" reference to Haley in his Truth Social posts. After the powerful conservative Koch network came out in support of Haley for president, Trump called Haley, "a very weak and ineffective Birdbrain, who still says that 'President Trump was a GREAT President, I will never run against him.'"

Trump calling Haley "birdbrain" seems to be a part of his ongoing strategy of trying to undermine rivals by calling them names. To name just a few, there's been "Crooked Hillary" for Hillary Clinton, "Peekaboo" for New York Attorney General Letitia James, and "Sleepy Joe" for Joe Biden.