Haley Threatens to Skip New Hampshire Debates Unless Trump Appears


Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at her caucus night event in West Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 15, 2024. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The morning after she finished in third place in the Iowa Republican caucuses, Nikki Haley announced that she would not be participating in two upcoming Republican presidential primary debates that would take place in New Hampshire.

The former governor of South Carolina made the statement on social media. She said that the next time she participates in a debate, she will be on stage beside either President Joe Biden or former President Donald Trump, who has not participated in any of the Republican primary debates.

“We’ve had five great debates in this campaign,” she said in her post on X, formerly Twitter, on Jan. 16. “Unfortunately, Donald Trump has ducked all of them. He has nowhere left to hide.

“The next debate I do will either be with Donald Trump or with Joe Biden. I look forward to it.”

ABC News announced that it was offering Ms. Haley and President Trump a short window to respond to the upcoming debate invitations.

“ABC News and WMUR-TV have officially given Donald Trump and Nikki Haley’s campaigns a deadline of 5:00 p.m. EST today to commit to the Republican presidential primary debate planned for Thursday, Jan. 18 at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire,” an ABC News spokesperson said in a statement from the network.

“We will update our plans accordingly.”

In a speech that she delivered on Jan. 15 after the Iowa contest, Ms. Haley implied that the Republican primary is now between herself and President Trump. She did not mention Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who finished in second place overall in the Iowa caucuses.

“I can safely say tonight Iowa made this Republican primary a two-person race,” she told her supporters at the caucus site in Des Moines.

“Tonight, I will be back in the great state of New Hampshire, and the question before Americans is now very clear: Do you want more of the same, or do you want a new generation of conservative leadership?”

Compares Trump and Biden

At various points throughout the speech, Ms. Haley criticized President Trump, stating that the majority of Americans “do not want another Trump-Biden rematch,” in part because of their ages. President Biden is 81 years old, while President Trump is 77 years old.

“They have more in common than you think,” she said. “Trump and Biden both put our country trillions of dollars deeper in debt, and our kids will never forgive them for it.

“Trump and Biden both lack a vision for our country’s future because both are consumed by the past, by investigations, by vendettas, by grievances. America deserves better.”

In response to the announcement from the Haley campaign, Mr. DeSantis responded online, saying Ms. Haley was not attending the debates because “she’s running to be Trump’s VP” rather than competing for the presidential nomination of the Republican Party.

“Nikki Haley is afraid to debate because she doesn’t want to answer the tough questions such as how she got rich off Boeing after giving them millions in taxpayer handouts as governor of South Carolina,” the Florida governor posted on X.

“I won’t snub New Hampshire voters like both Nikki Haley and Donald Trump, and plan to honor my commitments. I look forward to debating two empty podiums in the Granite State this week.”

The two Republican debates in New Hampshire are planned for Jan. 18 and Jan. 21, only a few days after the Iowa caucuses. The primary election for the Granite State will be the first of its kind in the country on the following Tuesday, January 23.

In the Iowa caucus, Ms. Haley received a bit more than 19 percent of the votes, which was a close second to Mr. DeSantis, who received almost 21 percent.

With 51 percent of the vote, President Trump emerged as the undisputed front-runner.

From The Epoch Times


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