Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is declining to participate in any more debates unless they include former president Donald Trump or President Biden, a stance that has led to the cancellation of Thursday’s debate.
The debate, which Manchester television station WMUR and ABC News were hosting at St. Anselm College, was canceled Tuesday evening by the network.
“Our intent was to host a debate coming out of the Iowa caucuses, but we always knew that would be contingent on the candidates and the outcome of the race. As a result, while our robust election coverage will continue, ABC News and WMUR-TV will not be moving forward with Thursday’s Republican presidential primary debate in New Hampshire,” an ABC spokesperson said in a statement.
The second debate, to be hosted by CNN at New England College, is scheduled in less than a week.
As the GOP race shifts its focus from Monday’s caucuses in Iowa — which Trump handily won — to next week’s primary in New Hampshire, Haley said she would not participate in the ABC-WMUR debate this week if Trump was not there.
“We’ve had five great debates in this campaign,” Haley said in a statement Tuesday morning. “Unfortunately, Donald Trump has ducked all of them. He has nowhere left to hide. The next debate I do will either be with Donald Trump or with Joe Biden. I look forward to it.”
On Tuesday, DeSantis tweeted that Haley was too “afraid to participate in the remaining debates.”
“I won’t snub New Hampshire voters like both Nikki Haley and Donald Trump, and plan to honor my commitments. I look forward to debating two empty podiums in the Granite State this week,” he added.
Trump has consistently declined to attend any GOP presidential debate this cycle. A debate with Biden onstage would not take place until the general election season.
“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had,” Trump wrote on Truth Social when he announced in the summer that he would not participate in debates during the GOP primaries.
Last week, Haley expressed frustration about having debates without Trump onstage and said she would wait until the Iowa caucuses to decide about participating in New Hampshire debates.
“I think we’re trying to get through Iowa first. That’s the biggest thing. But what I’ll say is: Is Trump going to be on that stage? I’ve debated DeSantis five times already, but is Trump going to be on that stage? He’s the one I’m running against,” Haley told WMUR.