It looks like there won’t be a GOP debate in New Hampshire next week after all.
On Wednesday, ABC and CNN both said they would be canceling the debate — which was scheduled to take place on Tuesday — after former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said she’d only participate if former President Donald Trump was there as well.
Trump, of course, hasn’t participated in any GOP primary debates — choosing instead to host individual events that have aired simultaneously — so he declined to participate in this one as well.
That caused the networks to cancel New Hampshire’s debate, since Florida Governor Ron DeSantis would be the only candidate to attend.
As a spokesperson for CNN said this week:
“We will continue to pursue other opportunities as the campaign season progresses through 2024.”
Haley took to the social media platform X to explain her thinking on the issue. She wrote:
“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.”
That last comment is hopeful, at best, for Haley. The former governor of South Carolina had a disappointing showing in the Iowa caucuses this week, finishing in third place and way behind Trump.
While she’s expected to perform rather well in New Hampshire — the next state to hold a GOP primary — Haley is still well behind Trump in most national polls.
DeSantis didn’t let this opportunity pass without first taking a shot at Haley, saying that she’s “afraid to participate in the remaining debates.”
As he wrote on X:
“I won’t snub New Hampshire voters like both Nikki Haley and Donald Trump, and plan to honor my commitments. I look forward to debating two empty podiums in the Granite State this week.”
That won’t happen, though, as ABC also said it would be canceling the debate it was planning to host on Thursday.
In a statement, an ABC News spokesperson said:
“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. As a result, while our robust election coverage will continue, ABC News and WMUR-TV will not be moving forward with Thursday’s Republican presidential primary debate in New Hampshire.”
It seems as though Haley is not really in touch with her place in the GOP primary race. Following the Iowa caucuses — which she finished behind both Trump and DeSantis — Haley called it a “two-person race.” She was seemingly saying that only herself and Trump could win, though the results in Iowa certainly showed otherwise.
Speaking to supporters at her caucus site in Iowa this week, Haley said:
“I can safely say tonight Iowa made this Republican primary a two-person race. Tonight, I will be back in the great state of New Hampshire, and the question before Americans is now very clear: Do you want more of the same, or do you want a generation of conservative leadership?”