As the Ukrainian military moves closer toward a full counteroffensive, Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley declared that Ukraine’s victory is a way to prevent World War III – and she tore into her former boss and her other 2024 rival, Ron DeSantis, over their refusal to say whether or not they want Ukraine to win its war against Russia.
In recent town hall events, former President Donald Trump, the current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, said he could end the war in “24 hours,” but would not answer questions about who he supports.
Florida Governor DeSantis, who is presently Trump’s nearest rival for the Republican nomination, said recently that he supports a settlement to the war and hopes fighting will end by the time the next President takes the oath of office in January 2025.
Haley, the former US ambassador to the UN under Trump and the only woman in the race for the Republican nomination, had previously condemned DeSantis for referring to the war in Ukraine as a “territorial dispute” – a comment that he has since rowed back.
“For them to sit there and say that this is a territorial dispute – that’s just not the case, or to say that we should stay neutral,” Haley reiterated her views to voters in the state of Iowa during a televised CNN town hall event. Since 1972, Iowa has been the first, and some would argue the most important, electoral test at the start of the Republican presidential nomination race.
Haley’s comments appeared targeted at Trump's close relationship with Putin and DeSantis's initial comments about the war.
“It’s in the best interest of our national security for Ukraine to win,” Haley said.
“What we have to understand is that a win for Ukraine is a win for all of us, because tyrants tell us exactly what they’re going to do.
“Russia said Poland and the Baltics are next, if that happens, we are looking at a world war. This is about preventing war.
“Everybody wants to know well how does this war end? It would end in a day if Russia pulls out. If Ukraine pulled out, then we’re all looking at a world war.
"This is bigger than Ukraine. This is a war about freedom, and it's one we have to win,” she said.
Haley also called Russian President Vladimir Putin a tyrant.
Haley, 51, a former South Carolina governor, declared her White House bid in February, but finds herself in a crowded Republican field is likely to reach double digits this week with declarations by more contenders, including former Vice President Mike Pence.
According to the most recent Reuters/Ipsos polling, Trump dominates the field among potential Republican primary voters with 49 per cent support. DeSantis is next with 19 percent. Then, there is a wide gap between them and the rest of the field, including Haley, who has just 4 percent support.
Reuters wrote that “Haley and many of her rivals polling in single digits are trying to differentiate themselves from DeSantis, in the hope that he stumbles and they can become the main alternative to Trump.”
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