Nikki Haley, the Republican presidential candidate, has made a bold declaration following former President Donald Trump's resounding victory in the Iowa caucuses. In an official statement released on Tuesday, Haley expressed her determination to engage in debates exclusively with either Donald Trump or the current President, Joe Biden.
Haley, a former U.N. ambassador, reflected on the series of five successful debates that have already taken place during the campaign. She lamented the absence of Donald Trump in any of these debates and asserted that Trump can no longer evade scrutiny.
In her own words, "The next debate I do will either be with Donald Trump or with Joe Biden. I look forward to it." The decision came in the wake of a disappointing outcome in the Iowa caucuses, where Haley secured the third position with approximately 19% of the vote.
She trailed behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who garnered 21%, and Donald Trump, who led with a commanding 51% of the vote. Ron DeSantis wasted no time in responding to Haley's statement, claiming that she is avoiding debates due to her reluctance to face tough questions.
He went further to suggest that Haley's true aim is not the presidential nomination but rather to secure the position of Trump's running mate.
Trump's Debate Absence
Donald Trump has refrained from participating in any of the GOP debates thus far, justifying his absence by citing his substantial lead in the polls.
His adviser, Chris LaCivita, reiterated Trump's stance that he would not attend any debates. Instead, Trump has opted for counter-programming events such as rallies and televised interviews to connect with his base and convey his message.
Nikki Haley's recent surge in polling, which has been consistent since September, suggests that she poses a significant challenge to Trump's dominance in the race, as evident in recent Iowa polls that placed her slightly ahead of DeSantis.
The razor-thin margin between Haley and DeSantis in the Iowa caucus results indicates that no candidate can assert a clear claim to being the alternative to Trump. Haley's campaign now shifts its focus to New Hampshire, where the primaries are scheduled for January 23.
Her team is banking on a strong performance in New Hampshire to propel her campaign forward. Both Haley and DeSantis have reaffirmed their commitment to continuing the race, with Haley telling her supporters, "We're gonna make you proud, and we're off to New Hampshire."