When the Republican Debate Was Canceled After Nikki Haley Said She’ll Participate if Trump Does

When the Republican Debate Was Canceled After Nikki Haley Said She’ll Participate if Trump Does
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Win McNamee; (inset): Photo by Tom Pennington

In a surprising turn of events, ABC News has pulled the plug on the upcoming Republican presidential debate, following Nikki Haley’s declaration that she won’t participate unless former President Donald Trump joins the forum. This decision leaves Governor Ron DeSantis as the sole candidate committed to Thursday even in New Hampshire, creating a political debacle that has sent shockwaves through the GOP landscape.

Haley, campaigning in New Hampshire, released a statement asserting, “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.” This announcement surfaced on the verge of Iowa caucuses, where Trump secured a substantial victory over both Haley and DeSantis, amplifying the rivalry between the two trailing candidates.



As per AP News, the cancellation follows a previous debate where Haley, unexpectedly, did not perform as ferociously as speculated. DeSantis seizing the opportunity, surpassed her, potentially influencing Haley’s strategic decision to link her electoral narrative more closely with Trump than her fellow contender.

Van Scott, spokesperson for ABC News asserted, "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." This unforeseen situation has cast a shadow of uncertainty on another scheduled debate in New Hampshire, this time on CNN, scheduled for Sunday.

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A post shared by Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley)



As per ABC News, Governor DeSantis did not mince words, exclaiming on X, "Haley is afraid to debate because she doesn’t want to answer the tough questions," He blamed her for “running to be Trump’s VP” He proactively added, "I look forward to debating two empty podiums in the Granite State this week." The battle of words between the candidates is spiking, reflecting the growing tension within the GOP. Trump’s spokesman, Stevan Cheung, did not mince words in criticizing Haley.

He asserted, “Haley a desperate globalist who wants higher taxes, open borders, and China to dominate the United States. That’s why the only people who are voting for her are Democrats who are trying to interfere in a Republican primary.” The war between the candidates underscores the deep-seated divisions within the party, with each contender vying for a peculiar vision and direction.

Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Chip Somodevilla
 Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Chip Somodevilla


Haley's strategic move not only impacts the upcoming debate but also raises questions about her participation in future events, including the scheduled debate on CNN. The cancellation of the ABC debate marks a significant departure from the norm, as on-the-ground face-offs have been a staple in the lead-up to New Hampshire's primary. With the 2024 presidential race intensifying, the Republican candidates find themselves navigating a complex and highly competitive landscape.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 18, 2024. It has since been updated.

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