South Carolina – ABC News has called off the upcoming Republican presidential debate. This decision follows Nikki Haley’s refusal to participate unless Donald Trump joins. So far, Trump has skipped all the Republican primary debates. This leaves Ron DeSantis as the only one who had agreed to attend the debate in New Hampshire.
“We’ve had five great debates in this campaign,” Haley said in a statement, released as she campaigned in New Hampshire. “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.”
Trump wins big in Iowa, Haley took the third spot
This announcement came right after the Iowa caucuses, where Trump secured a significant lead. Haley received just over 19% of the votes, trailing behind DeSantis, who got 21%. This step might also be influenced by the last debate, where only Haley and DeSantis appeared. Haley didn’t do as well as expected, and DeSantis took the second spot in Iowa.
Haley has been telling Republican caucusgoers that choosing her would increase their chances of defeating Biden in the November elections. She refers to polls that show her leading against other GOP candidates in a hypothetical match against Biden.
“Our intent was to host a debate coming out of the Iowa caucuses, but we always knew that would be contingent on the candidates and the outcome of the race,” an ABC News spokesperson said in a statement. “As a result, while our robust election coverage will continue, ABC News and WMUR-TV will not be moving forward with Thursday’s Republican presidential primary debate in New Hampshire.”
Haley’s decision also casts doubt on another New Hampshire debate scheduled for Sunday on CNN.
On X, DeSantis said Haley “is afraid to debate because she doesn’t want to answer the tough questions.” He accused her of “running to be Trump’s VP” and said that he looked “forward to debating two empty podiums in the Granite State this week”.
Trump spokesman Steven Cheung on Tuesday called Haley a “desperate globalist who wants higher taxes, open borders, and China to dominate the United States”. He added: “That’s why the only people who are voting for her are Democrats who are trying to interfere in a Republican primary.”
Surveys show Haley has decent support in New Hampshire
As the Republican campaign moves to New Hampshire for the upcoming primary, Nikki Haley is showing confidence. She believes her dedication to the state and positive survey results there will help her campaign gain momentum and challenge Trump’s strong position.
During her time in Iowa last week, journalists frequently asked Haley if she would participate in the upcoming debate. This debate, scheduled for Thursday, is hosted by ABC and WMUR-TV at Saint Anselm College.
Meanwhile, after winning the Iowa caucus, Trump traveled to New York. There, he attended the first day of E Jean Carroll’s defamation trial against him. After that, he went to a rally in New Hampshire.
Chris Ager, the chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, mentioned that both Haley and Trump have been invited to join DeSantis for the debate.
“We would love to see them all,” he said in a text message. “People in NH expect to see a local debate. Candidates who skip do so at their own risk.”