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Heated Exchanges Between Haley and DeSantis Emerge in Pre-Iowa Caucus Debate

In Iowa’s Des Moines, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida fiercely criticized Nikki Haley, the former Governor of South Carolina. He described her as “another mealy-mouthed politician,” accusing her of being too compliant with “woke” Wall Street donors and inconsistent in her statements.

Republican Presidential Candidates Clash

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During a debate at Drake University on January 10, both DeSantis and Haley, as Republican presidential hopefuls, aimed to position themselves against Donald Trump. The debate, marked by sharp exchanges and lacking policy focus, occurred just before the Iowa caucuses.

Haley Criticizes DeSantis

Credit: Nikki Haley (© AP Images)

Ms. Haley attacked Mr. DeSantis for his policy shifts and alleged incompetence in his campaign. She accused him of being untrustworthy and highlighted this on a website dedicated to his claims.

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Haley’s Opening Statement

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In her initial remarks, Ms. Haley, the ex-United Nations ambassador, accused Mr. DeSantis of frequent dishonesty. She directed people to her campaign’s website, DeSantisLies.com, for evidence of his falsehoods.

DeSantis’ Retort to Haley

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Mr. DeSantis questioned Ms. Haley’s integrity and compared her unfavorably to Gavin Newsom, Governor of California. He suggested that she might be even more liberal than Newsom.

Political Stances and Donor Influence

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Mr. DeSantis claimed he is focused on the public’s interests, contrasting with Ms. Haley’s donor-driven agenda. He accused her of being influenced by corporate interests and “woke corporations.”

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Haley’s Counterclaims

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Ms. Haley retorted that Mr. DeSantis is envious of her donor support and criticized his campaign performance. She pointed out inconsistencies in his past political decisions, including his stances on the debt limit and Social Security.

DeSantis on Haley’s Record

Des Moines, Iowa, USA – August 12, 2023: Florida Republican Governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis greets supporters at the Iowa State Fair fair side chats in Des Moines, Iowa. — Photo by jhansen2

Mr. DeSantis argued that Ms. Haley’s tenure as governor lacked significant achievements. He boasted about fulfilling promises in Florida and criticized her for catering to global interests.

Haley’s Defense

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Ms. Haley defended her record, highlighting her actions against a gas tax and denying any tax increases during her governance. She maintained her stance on illegal immigration, challenging Mr. DeSantis’ accusations.

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Immigration Policies Debated

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The debate touched on immigration, with Mr. DeSantis questioning Ms. Haley’s commitment to strict immigration policies. Ms. Haley countered by recalling her tough stance on illegal immigration as South Carolina’s governor.

Final Thoughts on Each Other

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After a debate filled with accusations, both candidates were asked about their respect for each other. Mr. DeSantis acknowledged Ms. Haley’s strong voice at the United Nations, while Ms. Haley complimented his governance in Florida.

Closing Remarks

The intense debate concluded with the candidates expressing a modicum of mutual appreciation. This encounter sets the stage for a highly competitive race in the lead-up to the 2024 election cycle.

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