Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Sunday called questions posed by former President Trump about the whereabouts of her military husband “insulting to military families.”
Trump, who holds a comfortable lead over Haley in the GOP primary race, spoke at a campaign event in Conway, South Carolina, on Saturday when he asked why Haley’s husband was not not with her during the election campaign.
Her husband, Maj. Michael Haley, is currently overseas with the South Carolina National Guard on a one-year assignment. He is deployed as a staff officer with the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, which the National Guard is supporting in the Horn of Africa, the Associated Press reported.
“What happened to her husband?” Trump asked a crowd in Conway, South Carolina, on Saturday. Where is he? He left. They had. They had.”
His comments are reminiscent of those he made in 2015 on whether the late Sen. John McCain (R-Az.), a prisoner of war in Vietnam, should be considered a hero because he loved “people who were not captured.
Pressed about his comments on CBS’s “Face The Nation” by anchor Margaret Brennan and how Haley was still working in Trump’s cabinet despite his criticism of McCain, the former UN ambassador United replied: “Well, I agreed to serve our country and I am proud that I have to serve our country. There is nothing, no greater honor than to serve the people of this country.
“But what I can tell you is that it is insulting to the military. This is insulting to military families. And what bothers me is that he keeps doing this,” Haley continued. “It’s not personal about me and Michael, it’s pretty much what it says to each member who sacrifices himself for us.”
“That’s pretty much what it says to every military family that sacrifices alongside them.” We cannot have someone who stands there and mocks our men and women who are trying to protect America,” she added.
Haley argued that Trump’s remarks followed a “pattern of chaos” and “irresponsibility.”
Trump’s remarks about Haley’s husband drew sharp criticism from various Republicans, including one of Haley’s strongest supporters, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu.
“It’s a shame. Major Haley serves his country. Donald Trump once again attacks and insults military families. The contrast couldn’t be more striking. Republicans have a big choice @NikkiHaley. She will be a president we will ALWAYS be proud of,” Sununu wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
“When you start talking about a veteran serving overseas, I don’t care if you know them or not, it should make you sick,” said state Rep. Chris Wooten, who introduced Haley at an evening gathering, according to The AP.
Haley also spoke on Saturday, in writing, “Michael is deployed in service to our country, something you know nothing about. Someone who continually disrespects the sacrifices of military families has no business being commander in chief.
Both Haley and Trump are making a series of campaign stops in Haley’s home state of South Carolina, which will hold its primaries later this month.
Trump holds a nearly 32-point lead over Haley in the Palmetto State, according to a polling index by The Hill and Decision Desk HQ. Haley vowed to stay in the race at least until Super Tuesday despite disappointing losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
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