- Donald Trump questioned the whereabouts of Nikki Haley’s husband during a rally Saturday
- Haley retorted back saying anyone who mocks the service of a combat veteran doesn’t deserve to be president
- The two will square off in the state’s GOP primary on Feb. 24 in South Carolina
GOP presidential primary candidate Nikki Haley clapped back at Former President Donald Trump for mocking her husband and his absence at her campaign trails.
The verbal sparring between Haley and the GOP primary front-runner continued as the two took their election pitch to South Carolina.
Trump questioned where Haley’s husband, Maj. Michael Haley, was during a campaign rally in Conway, South Carolina.
“Where’s her husband? Oh, he’s away. He’s away,” Trump said at the Saturday rally. “What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband? Where is he? He’s gone. He knew. He knew.”
Haley’s retort came soon after as she spoke at a campaign event about 150 miles away in Gilbert, South Carolina.
“I need to start with the fact that Donald Trump had a rally today, and in that rally, he mocked my husband’s military service,” she said.
The former South Carolina governor asked Trump to debate her — a challenge she has put forward several times before — and reiterated that the former president may need a mental competency test.
“I’ll say this, Donald, if you have something to say, don’t say it behind my back,” she said at the campaign event. “Get on a debate stage and say it to my face.”
Haley has been married for 25 years to her husband, Maj. Michael Haley, who is currently serving an active duty deployment in Africa for the South Carolina Army National Guard.
In her response to Trump’s comments about her husband, Haley also asserted that anyone who mocks a combat veteran does not deserve to be in the Oval Office.
“I have long talked about the fact that we need to have mental competency tests for anyone over the age of 75. Donald Trump claims that he would pass that — maybe he would, maybe he wouldn’t. But if you mock the service of a combat veteran, you don’t deserve a driver’s license, let alone being President of the United States,” she said.
Trump has been accused by former senior staff members of denigrating veterans and calling them “losers” or “suckers” in the past.
The former president also said Sen. John McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was “not a war hero” during a 2015 interview. He then added, “He’s a war hero ’cause he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK?”
Trump and Haley will square off in the state’s GOP primary on Feb. 24 in South Carolina, where Haley would hope that the home-state advantage works in her favor.