Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has issued a bold challenge to former President Donald Trump after he took aim at her husband, Michael Haley, who is currently deployed overseas on military duty.
Speaking to supporters in Gilbert, S.C., as part of her state-wide bus tour, Haley condemned Trump’s attack on her husband, emphasizing the disrespect shown to a combat veteran.
Haley said, “If you mock the service of a combat veteran, you don’t deserve a driver’s license, let alone being president of the United States.”
At a rally in Conway, S.C., Trump questioned the whereabouts of Michael Haley, insinuating his absence from the campaign trail.
He said: “Where’s your husband? … Oh, he’s away … He’s away … What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband?! Where is he?! … He’s gone! He knew! He knew!”
Haley’s Call for Debate
Responding directly to Trump’s comments, Nikki Haley challenged him to a debate in South Carolina, urging him to address his criticisms face-to-face rather than behind her back.
“Donald, if you have something to say, don’t say it behind my back,” she said. “Get on a debate stage and say it to my face.”
Social Media Exchange
The dispute escalated on social media, with Haley and Trump exchanging barbs on X (formerly Twitter).
Haley defended her husband’s service, writing, “Michael is deployed serving our country, something you know nothing about. Someone who continually disrespects the sacrifices of military families has no business being commander in chief.”
Michael Haley’s Response
Michael Haley joined the fray, posting a meme that indirectly criticized Trump’s leadership, emphasizing the importance of service to country.
Support from Biden and Others
President Joe Biden and other political figures rallied behind Haley, highlighting Michael’s service and condemning Trump’s disrespect toward military families.
President Biden wrote on X, “The answer is that Major Haley is abroad, serving his country right now. We know he (Trump) thinks our troops are ‘suckers,’ but this guy wouldn’t know service to his country if it slapped him in the face.”
The incident evokes past controversies surrounding Trump’s alleged disparagement of military personnel, including reports from 2020 that he denigrated soldiers as “losers” and “suckers.”
Outrage from Fellow Republicans
Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire joined the chorus of criticism against Trump, denouncing his attack on the Haley family and reaffirming Michael’s service.
Despite the controversy, both Trump and Haley continued their campaign activities in South Carolina, intensifying their efforts ahead of the upcoming Republican primary.
Continuing Political Drama
As the campaign unfolds, the dispute between Haley and Trump adds another layer of drama to the already contentious race for the Republican nomination.