Rival Republican presidential campaigns took to social media to blast former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley during and after her participation in a Fox News town hall.
Haley participated in the hour-long town hall, which was hosted by “Special Report” chief political anchor Bret Baier and “The Story” executive editor and anchor Martha MacCallum, before a live audience one week ahead of the infamous Iowa caucuses next week.
The former South Carolina governor touched on the border and inflation in her answers to questions from citizens of the Hawkeye State. She also took aim at some of her top GOP rivals, including former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. She also attacked President Biden.
HALEY PUSHES BACK BUT DOES NOT CATEGORICALLY RULE OUT BEING TRUMP’S RUNNING MATE
US Republican presidential candidate and former US ambassador to the Unted Nations Nikki Haley speaks at a town hall meeting hosted by Fox News in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 8, 2024. (Photo by Christian MONTERROSA / AFP)
Haley’s rivals had words, though, as the former governor made her case to Iowans and voters across the country, with former President Trump blasting Haley on TruthSocial over her comments about beating the former president “fair and square.”
“Nikki Haley, who said I was a great President and that she would ‘never run against me,’ just stated that I ‘should not be kicked off the ballot’ and that she ‘will beat me fair and square,’” Trump wrote.
“Her only problem is, a new Morning Consult poll that just came out has me leading her by 43 points in Iowa,” Trump wrote in the post that included a screenshot of the poll numbers. “Also, interestingly, I’ve gone up 8 points, and she’s only gone up 4, but Ron DeSanctimonious has gone down by 4–Could be the end of the line for Ron.”
“I would like to congratulate ‘Aida’ Hutchinson on the fact that, after being at ZERO for 7 consecutive months, he has broken the ice and is now at a solid 1%,” Trump continued. “Sloppy Chris Christie is ‘DEAD!'”
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, in Dubuque, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Tricia McLaughlin, the spokesperson for GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, told Fox News Digital that Ramaswamy “didn’t watch” Haley’s town hall as “he was busy meeting Iowans on his fifth campaign of the day, while Nikki Haley cancelled her events.” He repeatedly blasted her on Monday on social media for canceling a Monday morning event in Sioux City due to a snowstorm.
Carly Atchison, spokesperson for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign, told Fox News Digital, “First Nikki Haley insulted Iowans by saying New Hampshire voters will ‘correct’ their votes, then tonight she just lied to their faces.”
“Haley continues to show how little respect she has for Iowa and gives Iowans a new reason every day to reject her on caucus night,” Atchison said.
DeSantis’ rapid response team fired off during the town hall, as well, taking aim at Haley’s truthfulness.
“‘If you have to lie to win, you don’t deserve to win,’ Nikki Haley tells Iowa caucusgoers right before lying to them,”
“‘I never said Hillary Clinton was an inspiration!'” the account continued. “Really, Nikki? Let’s roll the tape.”
The post included a video of Haley’s response to DeSantis’ attack ad criticizing her for past comments regarding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Haley accused DeSantis of “lying” about her comments.
“Nikki Haley says Ron DeSantis does not deserve to win because he tells the truth,” the DeSantis War Room wrote in another post. “Interesting take.”
“DeSantis is desperate,” Haley said on Monday. “He’s lying because he’s losing. But let’s go – the problem is, if you have to lie to win, you don’t deserve to win. I never said Hillary Clinton was an inspiration. What I said when I was talking to a group of women who were looking at running for office, I said the same thing about her that I said about Sarah Palin, and that is when I was looking to run. Everybody told me why I couldn’t do it.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley traded barbs during Wednesday evening’s fourth GOP presidential primary debate over their past positions on bathroom access for transgender people. (Getty Images)
A spokesperson for Haley’s campaign echoed her boss by saying it was “awfully nice” that the GOP rivals were giving Haley a lot of attention.
“As Nikki said tonight, it’s awfully nice of her opponents to pay so much attention to her,” Haley spokesperson AnnMarie Graham-Barnes said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “It’s a sure sign that she is rising, and they are growing increasingly desperate.”
Former President Trump’s campaign also hit Haley during her town hall on China, posting a graphic accusing the former ambassador of giving away “free land” to a firm run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“Nikki Haley gave 197 acres of free land to a Chinese company run by the CCP,” the Trump campaign wrote. Haley has been criticized over her business with China as South Carolina governor.
Haley’s town hall comes as she and other GOP presidential candidates barnstorm Iowa ahead of the infamous caucuses.
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She is not the only candidate taking the stage for Fox News town halls this week. DeSantis and Trump will both be having their own town halls on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
Fox News Digital’s Andrew Mark Miller contributed reporting.
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