Haley face off in debate showdown to emerge as Trump alternativeHaley face off in debate showdown to emerge as Trump alternative

During a heated debate, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley exchanged allegations of dishonesty. The debate, which included a mix of policy debates and personal barbs, highlighted the fierce battle between the two contenders trying to be Donald Trump primary challenger, just days before the first ballots are cast.

Despite the former president’s absence on the debate stage, the candidates seemed to be focused on one another rather than the apparent leader in the race. In a heated discussion, both DeSantis and Haley took aim at one other, creating a volatile environment in which policy disagreements and personal criticisms collide. The discussion revealed the dynamics of the campaign as these contenders attempted to differentiate themselves in the absence of Donald Trump.

According to a new countrywide Reuters/Ipsos survey released on Wednesday, the former president received an astounding 49% of Republican votes, putting him far ahead of Nikki Haley, who came in second with 12% of the vote.

For the seventh time, Trump decided to forego the debate in favour of a Fox News town hall in Des Moines. Through this calculated action, he was able to get a prime-time platform and an attentive television audience, which strengthened his position of power inside the party.

It’s interesting to note that the discussion took place only a few hours after Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey who was well-known for publicly criticising Trump, said he was suspending his own presidential campaign. Christie made an attempt, but was unable to get enough Republican support, highlighting the complicated dynamics that exist inside the party at this critical juncture in the presidential contest.

Expressing a commitment to honesty, Chris Christie declared during a town hall in Windham that he would rather face defeat by telling the truth than resort to lies for victory. He openly criticised his competitors for their reluctance to directly confront Trump.

When questioned about Trump’s suitability for the presidency in terms of character, both Haley and DeSantis opted for restrained criticism. Haley, while acknowledging agreement with some of Trump’s policies, emphasised a divergence in their approaches, highlighting her lack of personal vendettas and vengeful tendencies.

DeSantis, on the other hand, pointed out instances where he believed Trump fell short on campaign promises. These included unfulfilled commitments like Mexico financing a border wall, the failure to curb corruption in Washington, and the inability to reduce the federal debt. He also criticised Trump for not executing more deportations of individuals who illegally crossed the border.

Later in the debate, Haley took issue with Trump’s characterization of January 6, 2021—the day of the Capitol riot—as a “beautiful day.” She unequivocally stated that Trump lost the 2020 election, firmly contradicting his persistent false claims of voter fraud.


In the most recent discussion, DeSantis had a more impassioned demeanour and delivered stronger comments than in earlier occasions. With fewer competitors on stage owing to others failing to qualify, he seemed more at ease, seizing the chance to question Haley’s foreign policy position, notably her support for significant assistance to Ukraine.

DeSantis said that Haley prioritises Ukraine’s border above America’s southern border, underlining the necessity for a settlement to the problem. In response, Haley defended her stance, claiming that supporting Ukraine against Russia ultimately benefits US national security by averting a larger military battle. She disputed the concept of a false choice, arguing that the United States can help both Ukraine and Israel while defending its borders.

DeSantis, formerly seen as Trump’s main opponent, has encountered internal issues in his campaign, while Haley has gradually gained momentum in surveys. During the debate, Haley criticised DeSantis’ campaign management, challenging his capacity to lead the nation while struggling to run his presidential candidature, citing wasteful expenditures on private jets over campaign advertisements.

According to recent New Hampshire surveys, Haley is closing up on Trump’s advantage, while DeSantis lags in fourth place. Both candidates are almost tied for second place in Iowa. Securing the runner-up spot in Iowa is critical to their ambitions of turning the campaign into a one-on-one matchup with Trump.

Looking forward to the general election, when the Republican candidate will face President Joe Biden on November 5, new Reuters/Ipsos polling shows Trump and Biden tied at 35% each.

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