ABC News has canceled the New Hampshire Republican primary debate after neoconservative candidate Nikki Haley said she would not show up unless Donald Trump did.
Haley came in third in Iowa after Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis but claimed it is now a “two-person race,” referring to herself and the frontrunner.
DeSantis was declared to be the second-place finisher in Iowa by the Associated Press at 10:20 p.m.
“When you look at how we’re doing in New Hampshire, in South Carolina, and beyond, I can safely say tonight Iowa made this Republican primary a two-person race,” Haley claimed, channeling her inner Hillary Clinton.
Nikki Haley: “Tonight, Iowa made this Republican primary a two person race!”pic.twitter.com/vybpPtemW3
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) January 16, 2024
The next day, Haley said, “We’ve had five great debates in this 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 reiterated her demand during an interview with MSNBC’s Ali Vitali.
“I think we need to see, is Trump going to be on the stage? That’s my question,” she said.
Trump has not attended any of the debates as he is already winning the primary by a landslide.
DeSantis was planning to attend still, even after it was announced that Haley would not.
“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 Florida governor wrote in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
However, ABC News confirmed the debate was canceled on Tuesday evening.
“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 to The Wrap. “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.”
Trump had blasted “globalist RINO” Nikki Haley hours before the start of the Iowa caucuses.
In a post on Truth Social on Monday, Trump wrote, “Haley can never win in the General Election because she doesn’t have MAGA, and never will!”
“Ron DeSanctimonious, at least, is MAGA-Lite,” Trump continued. “Remember, I think MAGA is almost ALL of the Republican Party.”
Trump continued, “The days of the RINOS and non-AMERICA FIRST candidates are OVER!”
“Nikki is a Globalist RINO, backed by American’s for Chinese Growth, the Charles Koch con job,” Trump wrote. “It’s not going to happen for her, or DeSanctimonious! Vivek Votes are wasted, should come to ‘TRUMP.’ MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!”
Much of Haley’s support appears to be from Democrats.
A poll conducted ahead of the Iowa caucuses by NBC News, the Des Moines Register, and Iowa pollster Selzer & Co. found that Haley supporters in Iowa are twice as likely to vote for Joe Biden as they are Donald Trump, should she not win the Republican nomination.
The pollsters asked likely Iowa caucus-goers, “If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee in the general election in November, would you vote for him, vote for Joe Biden, vote for independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., or vote for some other third-party candidate?”
Across the board, just 11 percent of Republican caucus-goes across the board said they would flip and vote for Biden if Trump was the nominee. Looking only at Haley supporters, that number jumped to a whopping 43 percent.
Just 23 percent of Haley’s supporters said they would vote for Trump over Biden.
In contrast, 64 percent of DeSantis supporters said that they would vote for Trump if he was the nominee.
NBC News reports, “These new findings from the latest NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll of Iowa further illustrate the degree to which Haley is bringing in support from independents, Democrats and Republicans who have been uneasy with Trump’s takeover of the GOP. Fully half of her Iowa caucus supporters are independents or crossover Democrats, according to the survey results. Overall, Haley took 20% for second place in the survey, compared to 48% for Trump.”
“The poll also shows three-quarters of caucusgoers believing Trump can defeat Biden despite the former president’s legal challenges. But again, a majority of Haley’s supporters think it will be nearly impossible for Trump to win,” the report added.
In 2019, Haley was elected to Boeing’s board of directors months after leaving her post in the Trump administration. At the time, she had a net worth less than $1 million.
Soon after, the former UN ambassador purchased a $2.4 million waterfront estate on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.