DeSantis Battles Haley in US, Trump is a no-show for the debate yet again, as the former president leads surveys in Iowa and elsewhere
The struggle for the second slot in the Republican presidential nomination raged on Wednesday night in Iowa, where Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis met former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
DeSantis Battles Haley in US Republican Presidential Debate
Former President Donald Trump did not attend the debate, despite being comfortably ahead in the polls, and both contenders criticized him.
“I wish Donald Trump were up here on stage. He is the opponent I am up against. Haley, who served as Trump’s UN ambassador, added, “He’s the one I wish was here.”
“He should be defending his record. Right now, he’s not defending the fact that he let us accumulate $8 trillion in debt over four years, which our children will never forgive us for,” she said.
“He said he’d build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. He did not provide it. He said he was going to drain the marsh. “He did not deliver that,” added DeSantis, ramping up his criticism of the previous president.
“He promised to erase the debt, but instead he increased it by $7.8 trillion. So we have to deliver and get this stuff done,” the Florida governor said.
Just hours before the debate, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced his withdrawal from the 2024 presidential race. Vivek Ramaswamy, a tech entrepreneur, was not asked to participate in the debate due to his poor poll numbers, leaving Haley and DeSantis to take direct shots at one other.
Accusations of Incompetence
When discussing social security, the candidates became combative with one another. “Under her administration, you would have seniors getting less cost of living adjustments while your tax dollars are going to pay the pensions of Ukrainian bureaucrats,” DeSantis went on to say.
“That is not true. Haley shouted, “That’s such a lie, Ron,” as DeSantis attempted to speak over her. “You are so desperate. “You’re just so desperate,” she added.
“She claimed she has always supported school choice, yet she failed to deliver. “She blames other people,” DeSantis stated. “Leadership is about getting things done.” Stop using excuses. “Make it happen.
Haley did not hesitate to strike back. “If leadership’s about getting things done, how did you blow through $150 million in your campaign and you are down in the polls?” said Haley. “You are in fifth place…” “Why should we believe you can manage or accomplish anything in this country?”
With both contenders attempting to distinguish themselves as to why they should face Trump for the Republican nomination, their attention shifted directly to Trump’s conduct during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
“He describes January 6th as a great day. “I don’t think it was a beautiful day,” Haley stated. “Trump lost the 2020 election. Biden won the election. And the notion that he’s gone and carried this out indefinitely to the point where he’ll continue to say these things to scare the American people is incorrect.”
“I think what happened on January 6th was a terrible day and I think President Trump will have to answer for it,” Haley said. “He (Trump) sat in the White House and tweeted law and order, but he did nothing to ensure law and order,” DeSantis said.
Regardless of what happened on stage between Haley and DeSantis, Trump is winning most Iowa polls by nearly 50% heading into the Iowa caucuses on January 15.