Haley says Trump "mocks our men and women who are trying to protect America"

Washington — 2024 Republican hopeful Nikki Haley rebuked former President Donald Trump on Sunday for comments he made about her husband, who is deployed overseas, a day earlier, calling Trump’s actions a pattern of “chaos” and “irresponsibility.”

“We can’t have someone who sits there and mocks our men and women who are trying to protect America,” Haley said on “Face the Nation.” “It’s a pattern.”

Haley’s husband is a commissioned officer with the South Carolina National Guard and is currently on deployment with the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in the Horn of Africa. At a rally on Saturday, Trump questioned his whereabouts of at a rally, saying that he’s “gone.”  

At a rally of her own on Saturday, Haley said she is “doing this for my husband and his military brothers and sisters.” And on Sunday, she noted that “this isn’t personal,” but argued that it’s “insulting” to military members and families. 

Nikki Haley on “Face the Nation,” Feb. 11, 2024

CBS News

“This is about what it says to every member who sacrifices for us,” Haley said. This is about what it says to every military family who sacrifices alongside of them.

Haley also made clear her support for NATO, saying that the alliance “allows us to prevent war,” after Trump drew criticism for suggesting he wouldn’t protect member countries from Russia if they don’t spend enough on defense. And she admonished the former president for friendliness with the Kremlin.

“I’ve dealt with Russia every day,” Haley said. “The last thing we ever want to do is side with Russia.”

Haley, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, emphasized her call for mental competency tests for presidential candidates on Sunday, saying of Trump and President Biden that “when you get to those ages, you get diminished.”

“These are people making decisions on our national security, these are people making decisions on the future of our economy,” Haley said. “We need to know they’re at the top of their game.”

Haley has positioned herself as a “new generational leader” while suggesting that she could serve for two terms “without any chaos or distractions and focus on really getting our country back on track.” But her path to the nomination has grown increasingly narrow as Trump continues to dominate in the early-state primaries thus far. And she faces a major test next week in her home state of South Carolina, where she served as governor from 2011 to 2017. 

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