Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley was given a chance to make her case to conservative voters in Monday night’s nationally televised town hall on Fox News, just a week before Iowa voters go to the polls.
The former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has emerged as the establishment’s choice for the GOP nomination and has benefitted from glowing media coverage seeking to portray her as a viable alternative to current frontrunner Donald J. Trump.
In the hour-long showcase of the media darling from Des Moines, IA, Haley fielded softballs from hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum before a live audience comprised of the Hawkeye State voters who she insulted last week by suggesting that their votes don’t matter.
At one point the question about Trump being booted off ballots was asked, giving Haley a chance to suggest that she does not need any help beating the former president.
(Video: Fox News)
“No, he shouldn’t be taken off the ballot and the Supreme Court needs to rule quickly before other states start to do this,” Haley said. “This is one of those, don’t open a door if you don’t want to see what happens this is a door we don’t need to open. I will defeat President Trump fair and square. I don’t need anybody throwing him off the ballot to do it.”
While the people in the seats applauded the candidate’s remarks, the frontrunner wasn’t quite as impressed.
“Nikki Haley, who said I was a great President and that she would “never run against me,” just stated that I “should not be kicked off the ballot” and that she “will beat me fair and square.” Her only problem is, a new Morning Consult poll that just came out has me leading her by 43 points in Iowa,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, sharing a screenshot of the numbers showing voters don’t seem to share the media’s love for Haley.
(Screenshot: Truth Social)
Other GOP candidates also reacted to Haley’s Fox News appearance.
“First Nikki Haley insulted Iowans by saying New Hampshire voters will ‘correct’ their votes, then tonight she just lied to their faces,” said Carly Atchison, spokesperson for the campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Haley continues to show how little respect she has for Iowa and gives Iowans a new reason every day to reject her on caucus night,” Atchison told Fox News Digital.
Team DeSantis also shot down Haley’s insistence that she never said that she was inspired by Hillary Clinton, using her own words to do it.
“If you have to lie to win, you don’t deserve to win,” Nikki Haley tells Iowa caucusgoers right before lying to them.
“I never said Hillary Clinton was an inspiration!”
Really, Nikki? Let’s roll the tape. pic.twitter.com/0GPyyBYoK0
— DeSantis War Room (@DeSantisWarRoom) January 8, 2024
White House hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy’s spokeperson Tricia McLaughlin told the outlet that he “didn’t watch” the town hall because “he was busy meeting Iowans on his fifth campaign of the day, while Nikki Haley cancelled her events.”
Ramaswamy took to X on Monday to criticize Haley for calling off events due to the inclement weather.
Nikki Haley cancelled her events in Sioux City, Iowa to “avoid embarrassment.”
I’m headed to Sioux City for our event right now. We’re not cancelling. Four events in northwest Iowa, keeping them intact.
If you can’t handle the snow, you can’t handle Xi Jinping. https://t.co/kAWCP94NaN
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) January 8, 2024
“As Nikki said tonight, it’s awfully nice of her opponents to pay so much attention to her,” a spokesperson for Haley said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “It’s a sure sign that she is rising, and they are growing increasingly desperate.”
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