UNITED STATES: Nikki Haley, a Republican candidate for president and a former U.N. ambassador under former President Donald Trump, attacked her ex-boss and 2024 opponent Ron DeSantis on Sunday for their refusal to clarify whether they want Ukraine to win its conflict against Russia.
In recent town hall events, Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, has stated that he wants the war to end but that he will assist Russia and Ukraine in reaching a settlement.
DeSantis, the governor of Florida and Trump’s closest rival for the Republican nomination, recently expressed his support for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and expressed the hope that it will be over by the time the next president takes office in January 2025.
Haley, the only female candidate for the Republican nomination, blasted DeSantis for saying earlier this year that Ukraine was a “territorial dispute”, a remark that drew widespread convention and that he has since stepped back.
During a televised media event in the early nominating state of Iowa, Haley told voters that “for them to sit there and claim that this is a territorial dispute is simply not true, nor should we remain neutral.” She stated that victory for Ukraine is in the best interests of US national security.
Ukraine is a contentious issue that divides Republicans due to an isolationist inclination among many of the party’s primary voters.
Haley, a 51-year-old former governor of South Carolina, announced her candidature for president in February, but she now finds herself in a crowded Republican field that will top 10 this week with the entry of new candidates, including former Vice President Mike Pence.
With 49% of the vote, Trump leads among prospective Republican primary voters. Next, with 19%, is DeSantis. There is a yawning gap between them and the rest of the field, including Haley, who is only supported by 4% of voters, as per the most recent Ipsos survey, which was conducted in May.
Haley and several of her opponents, who are polling in the single digits, are attempting to set themselves apart from DeSantis in the hopes that he will falter and they will take over as Trump’s major challenger.
However, others have also started to criticise Trump personally after months of holding back from doing so for fear of offending his ardent fans.
On Sunday, she also blasted Trump for praising Kim Jong Un last week after his nation was chosen to serve on the World Health Organisation’s executive board. In the past, Trump has praised the North Korean leader.
“Kim Jong Un is a thug. I don’t think we should congratulate dictators,” said Haley.
Trump also received criticism from DeSantis and Pence for congratulating Kim during separate weekend appearances in Iowa, the state that officially kicks off the race for the presidency next year.