ABC News called off its Republican primary debate in New Hampshire on Thursday after former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said she would no longer participate if former President Donald Trump failed to show up.
“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,” an ABC spokesperson said.
Haley, who finished in third place after the Iowa caucuses, said Tuesday Republicans had already participated in “five great debates in this campaign.” But she challenged Trump and his refusal to appear, saying the former president had “nowhere left to hide.”
“The next debate I do will either be with Donald Trump or with Joe Biden,” she said at the time. “I look forward to it.”
CNN also canceled a debate that was scheduled to take place in New Hampshire on Sunday.
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.
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) January 16, 2024
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has also questioned Trump’s decision to duck the debate stage, saying he owed it to Americans to defend his record while in office. But the governor launched his own attack against Haley over her announcement, saying she was “afraid to debate because she doesn’t want to answer the tough questions.”
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.
The reality is that she is not running for the nomination, she’s running to…
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) January 16, 2024
Trump, for his part, has largely ignored the barbs, instead mocking Haley and DeSantis while sitting far ahead of them in the polls.
“The only people who are voting for her are Democrats who are trying to interfere in a Republican primary,” a Trump spokesman said Tuesday.