Republican presidential candidate and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley responded Friday to a series of attacks from her political opponents, saying that her challengers in the race are losing and that they know that her campaign is “surging.”
Haley’s comments came during an interview with Fox News Channel’s Martha MacCallum on “The Story,” where she also took aim at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over his comments about her record as governor of South Carolina and suggested that it’s up to him whether to drop out of the race as she gains momentum in the polls.
Asked about recent campaign attacks by former President Donald Trump, who has referred to Haley as “bird brain” and insisted she is a globalist concerned about the prosperity of other nations, Haley said, “Look, all these guys know that we’re surging in the polls so they’re all starting to hit.”
“The nickname, he’s losing it, it’s not even a funny nickname. I don’t even think it was that great,” continued Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations in Trump’s administration. “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.”
“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. We’re gonna have to deal with all of that because he didn’t deal with any of it,” she added.
Referencing remarks made by California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom at The Great Red vs. Blue State Debate this week, MacCallum also asked Haley whether she would like to see DeSantis drop out of the race for the White House.
“I’ve always said it’s a personal decision to get into a race, it’s a personal decision to get out of a race,” Haley responded. “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. We’re second in the polls in Iowa, second in New Hampshire, second in South Carolina.”
“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,” she added.
Haley also responded to DeSantis’ attack on her record as the Palmetto State’s governor. Those comments, she suggested, came as a result of him “losing” in the polls.
“I think he went after my record as governor because he’s losing,” Haley said. “I mean, who else can spend $100 million and drop half in the polls. My record as governor is clear. I took a state that had 11% unemployment, we dropped it down to four percent. We were known as the Beast of the Southeast because we created so many jobs and brought so many companies in. . . . I’m proud of my record. South Carolinians should be proud of our record.”
Though she continues to weather attacks from other candidates, Haley said her campaign is focused on making Americans “strong and proud,” and insisted she plans to do that by prioritizing relief from economic struggles, working to enhance education for children, lowering crime, and securing the borders.
“We’re gonna let the world know America is back,” she said.
Haley has enjoyed momentum in the polls in recent months, thanks in part to well-received performances in the first three GOP presidential primary debates. She has also picked up a stream of strong endorsements in recent weeks, including one from Americans for Prosperity Action, the political wing of the influential and deep-pocketed fiscally conservative network founded by the billionaire Koch Brothers.
Haley recently showcased over 70 new Hawkeye State endorsements and on Friday launched a $10 million ad blitz in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Haley has leapfrogged DeSantis for second place in New Hampshire and in her home state, which holds the first southern contest. She has also pulled even with DeSantis in some of the latest polls in Iowa, whose caucuses kick off the GOP nominating calendar on January 15.
But Haley and DeSantis remain far behind Trump, who continues to hold a commanding lead over the rest of the field as the former president makes his third straight White House run.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
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