Next Republican debate cancelled after Haley refuses to take stage without Trump

Indian-American aspirant Nikki Haley

WASHINGTON: The next Republican presidential debate has been cancelled with Indian-American aspirant Nikki Haley refusing to appear on stage unless former President Donald Trump takes part.

Following her third-place finish in the Iowa caucus, Haley took to her X on Tuesday and said that so far they have had five “great debates” in the campaign.

“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,” Haley, the lone woman candidate in the presidential race, said.

The ABC News and local New Hampshire outlet WMUR-TV scrapped the debate scheduled for Thursday at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, The New York Post reported.

In addition, a CNN-moderated debate in New Hampshire, which is slated for January 21, is also in doubt.

Haley’s announcement came a day after America’s twice-impeached former President, facing more than 90 criminal charges, emerged triumphant in Iowa and solidified his position as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

The party frontrunner won by a wide margin over Haley, who won just over 19 per cent of the vote.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who edged out Haley by two points to finish in second place in Iowa, slammed his rivals for refusing to debate him.

In the run-up to the New Hampshire nominating contest, he accused them of running a “basement campaign”.

“What does that say? We have four candidates for president now — Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Nikki Haley and me. I’m the only one who’s not running a basement campaign at this point,” DeSantis told voters during a town hall in Henniker, New Hampshire.

Training his guns at the former South Carolina Governor, DeSantis said Haley is afraid to debate and she is just running to be Trump’s Vice President.

“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,” DeSantis wrote on X after Haley’s announcement.

“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,” he added.

Also Read: Vivek Ramaswamy drops out of 2024 Republican race to WH, endorses Trump

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