New Hampshire Debate Canceled After Haley ‘Afraid’ to Take Stage

ABC News has announced that it is canceling its New Hampshire Republican primary debate, hours after former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said she would not appear on stage. Haley had remained uncommitted to the event following her debate against Governor Ron DeSantis in Iowa last week, in which she was widely criticized for a lackluster performance.

Haley confirmed in a Tuesday morning statement that she would not attend this week’s debate unless former President Donald Trump agreed to join. Later that day, ABC News officially scrapped the event,

“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,” a spokesman for the network said. “As a result, 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,”

Despite finishing in third place in the Iowa caucuses on Monday, Haley has continued to assert that the GOP primary is now a “two-person race” between her and Trump. Haley announced her decision on X,

“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.”

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Haley’s decision was met with swift criticism from DeSantis, who accused the former South Carolina Governor of jockeying for a Vice Presidential nod.

“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 said on X.

“The reality is that she is not running for the nomination, she’s running to be Trump’s VP. 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.”

DeSantis and his allies have repeatedly warned of an impending Trump-Haley ticket. When pressured for answers, Haley has consistently refused to rule out the possibility of being Trump’s running mate. Last month, the former President also refused to rule out the possibility during an interview on the Howie Carr show.

Following the cancellation of Thursday’s debate, however, Trump spokesman Steven Cheung slammed Haley as a “desperate globalist who wants higher taxes, open borders, and China to dominate the United States.” He continued, “That’s why the only people who are voting for her are Democrats who are trying to interfere in a Republican primary.”

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A second debate planned by CNN for January 21 in New Hampshire is also likely to be canceled after Haley’s announcement.

The New Hampshire Republican Presidential primary is scheduled for Tuesday, January 23.

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