GILBERT, S.C. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Saturday questioned why Nikki Haley's husband wasn't on the campaign trail, drawing sharp responses from both the former U.N. ambassador and her husband, now overseas on National Guard duty.
“What happened to her husband?” Trump said at a rally in Conway, South Carolina, that he and Hawley held events across the state ahead of the Feb. 24 Republican primary. “Where is he? he's gone. He knows. He knows.”
In a post on X, Haley responded: “Michael is serving our country and you have no idea.”
It's the latest example of Trump disparaging his opponents based on their US military service By questioning the late Sen. John McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was a hero because Trump loved “the uncaptured.” Throughout his political career, Trump has long been accused of flouting norms Avoid attacking current or past service members Or members of a politician's family.
Michael Haley The year-long work began in June with the South Carolina Army National Guard. Halley is assigned as a staff officer to the 218th Maneuver Expansion Squadron, which the National Guard says supports the Horn of Africa.
After Trump's comments, Michelle Haley posted a meme on her own X account with a picture of a wolf and the text: “The difference between humans and animals? Animals never let the dumb lead the pack. Nikki Haley's campaign confirmed the account belonged to her husband.
Trump has said he avoided serving in the Vietnam War Through student and medical deferment. And Melania Trump, Trump's wife and former first lady, stayed off the campaign trail and did not appear with him at a public campaign event after his announcement speech.
Haley has pushed Trump to debate as he seeks to change the course of the race after the former president and heavy frontrunner won the first three primary states. He challenged him again at a campaign stop on Saturday night.
“Donald, if you have something to say, don't say it behind my back. Get on a debate platform and say it to my face,” he told a crowd.
Haley's surrogates also wasted no time in Saturday's comments.
“When you start talking about a veteran who served overseas, I don't care if you know them or not, it makes your heart sick,” said state Rep. Chris Wootton, who introduced Haley at an evening rally.
Haley was proud of her husband's service, saying that every military wife knows that military life is a “family sacrifice.” As she has spoken often over the past year, Haley described her husband's struggle to readjust to life after he was deployed to Afghanistan. She said he couldn't stand loud noises and crowds.
“People like her husband make such sacrifices because they still believe in this wonderful experiment that is America,” she said.
“If they're willing to sacrifice for us, shouldn't we be willing to fight here for America? Because we have a country to save,” Haley concluded her speech.
Pollard is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report to the United States It is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on hidden issues.