Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley said the uptick in political attacks from her rivals is a sign that her campaign is “surging.”
Over recent weeks, Republican presidential contenders such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former President Donald Trump have ratcheted up their offenses against the former South Carolina governor.
“Look, all these guys know that we’re surging in the polls so they’re all starting to hit,” Haley told Fox News’s “The Story” on Friday.
Trump has begun deriding her as “birdbrain” over recent months and at one point, his campaign even sent birdcage to her hotel room in Iowa back in October.
The 77-year-old former president unloaded on Haley following kind words she received from JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and the Koch network Americans for Prosperity Action endorsement.
“The nickname, he’s losing it, it’s not even a funny nickname. I don’t even think it was that great,” Haley said.
“But you look at everything else he says, he knows how strong I was when it came to China. I was actually tougher on China than he was.”
Haley served as Trump’s US ambassador to the UN from 2017 to 2018. She argued that her policy on China would be more thorough than her old boss.
“He just handled the trade part of China, but he didn’t do anything about the fentanyl flow, he didn’t do anything about them stealing intellectual property, he didn’t do anything about them buying U.S. land, he didn’t do anything about defeating all of the intrusion that was happening in our universities from police stations to creating a spy center off the coast of Cuba,” she went on.
“We’re gonna have to deal with all of that because he didn’t deal with any of it.”
Trump is overwhelmingly ahead in the 2024 GOP primary, with 62% support on average nationally, followed by DeSantis at 13.6% and Haley at 9.6%, per the latest RealClearPolitics aggregate.
The GOP frontrunner is also ahead in all reliable polling of early states. Haley’s campaign has underscored her second place perch in New Hampshire and South Carolina which come right after the Iowa Caucuses on Jan. 15, 2024.
When asked about whether she wants DeSantis to drop out, Haley said, “I’m never going to tell a candidate to get out of the race.”
“That’s their decision. It’s up to Ron. But I think you can look at where we are right now,” she continued.
“We’re gonna keep working hard, we’re gonna keep staying focused, and we’re gonna get this done at the end of the day.”
Last week, Haley’s campaign announced a $10 million ad buy in New Hampshire and Iowa. She also touted 70 endorsements in Iowa.
Meanwhile DeSantis boasted about completing the “full Grassley” barnstorming all 99 counties in the Hawkeye State, like Republican Sen. Charles Grassley is known to do every year.
He is generally polling in second place behind Trump and has racked up coveted endorsements from Gov. Kim Reynolds and evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats, among others.
“We’re going to win the caucus. We’re doing everything that we need to do it. We’ll continue to build support,” he told “Meet the Press” in an interview that aired Sunday.
Haley and DeSantis will square off at the fourth GOP debate in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Wednesday.
Trump, who is facing 91 federal and state felonies, was set to again skip the debate.
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