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Haley Intensifies Criticism of Trump as New Hampshire Race Nears Conclusion

Nikki Haley, the former Ambassador to the United Nations, is intensifying her criticisms of ex-President Donald Trump as the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday approaches, marking a pivotal moment in her campaign.

In New Hampshire, Haley is closer in polls to Trump compared to other states, presenting her with a potential opportunity for an upset. She has shed her previous hesitance in openly critiquing Trump, cautioning voters about choosing him as their candidate.

Haley has pointedly questioned Trump’s record, highlighting his role in the Republican losses in the House, Senate, and the White House. Trump, in response, has stepped up his attacks on Haley, labeling her as ‘unelectable’ and accusing her of intending to cut Social Security benefits.

Haley has called for more scrutiny of Trump’s statements during a Fox News interview, contrasting the New Hampshire race with Iowa, where she trails Trump by a smaller margin according to The Hill/Decision Desk HQ polls. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, another Republican contender, has focused more on South Carolina than New Hampshire, despite making recent campaign visits to the latter.

Matt Bartlett, a Republican strategist in New Hampshire, noted Haley’s efforts to resonate with Republican voters, including those loyal to Trump’s MAGA movement. Jim Merrill, another GOP strategist in the state, emphasized the necessity for Haley to differentiate herself from Trump.

Haley’s recent approach includes highlighting her electability against President Biden, supported by polls like the Marist University survey, which shows her leading Biden in New Hampshire, unlike Trump or DeSantis.

Haley’s campaign has been active in New Hampshire, with multiple events and a focus on voter outreach. However, she has drawn criticism for initially avoiding debates unless Trump or Biden were participants, a decision that led to the cancellation of scheduled debates and raised questions among political insiders.

During a campaign stop, Haley defended her stance on debates, suggesting Trump’s reluctance to face her on stage stems from his awareness of her insights into his weaknesses.

Despite the debate controversy, observers like Bartlett believe it may not significantly affect the primary outcome. Merrill views Haley’s debate decision as a calculated risk, particularly considering the dynamics of previous debates.

Haley continues to campaign vigorously in New Hampshire, aiming to build momentum before the primary, while addressing criticisms and navigating the complexities of challenging a figure like Trump within the Republican Party.