(LifeSiteNews) – Candidate debates are done for the remainder of the Republican presidential primary after former United Nations ambassador and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley announced that she will no longer participate in any debate that does not include GOP former President Donald Trump or incumbent Democrat President Joe Biden.
Politico reported that, ahead of two debates in New Hampshire that had been slated for January 23, Haley announced, “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.”
I’ll debate Donald Trump right here, right now. He can’t hide forever. pic.twitter.com/wlMJYmEVUw
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) January 16, 2024
With Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis the only remaining candidate who had agreed to show up, the debates were swiftly canceled.
“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,” responded a spokesperson for ABC News, the sponsor for the first debate. CNN later canceled the second.
“I’m the only one who’s not running a basement campaign at this point,” DeSantis responded in a CNN town hall Tuesday night. “You deserve to have the candidates come up and answer your questions in forums like this.” Haley’s move followed a fiery one-on-one debate with DeSantis hosted by CNN.
I’m the only one who’s not running a basement campaign at this point.
You deserve to have the candidates come up and answer your questions in forums like this. pic.twitter.com/Nc46nrxqaU
— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantis) January 17, 2024
Throughout the primary, Trump defied tradition by refusing to participate in any of the debates, which supporters justified by citing his significant polling lead and detractors chided as a refusal to subject himself to scrutiny. Nevertheless, voters so far have not held the former president’s refusal against him.
Trump maintains a commanding lead for the Republican presidential nomination, and won his first primary victory Monday in the Iowa caucuses, picking up 51% of the vote and 20 delegates to DeSantis’s 21% and nine delegates, and Haley’s 19% and eight delegates.
Fluctuating national polls currently have Trump narrowly leading a close race with Biden should the former president be nominated, although voters also say that potential convictions in his various ongoing trials will make them less likely to support him. It’s also speculated that Democrats may replace Biden with a younger Democrat such as Gavin Newsom or Dean Phillips, and it is not yet certain which candidate would lose more votes to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential run.