GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley is attacking Donald Trump for his history of disparaging military service members after he cracked jokes about her deployed husband’s absence.
Haley, whose husband Michael Haley left for a yearlong Army deployment in June, made the rounds Monday saying Trump is unqualified for the presidency because he can’t be trusted to protect American troops.
“If you don’t respect our military, how should we think you’re going to respect them when it comes to times of war, and prevent war and keep them from going?” Haley said Monday on CNN. “If you don’t have respect for our military and our veterans, God help us all if that’s the case.”
She made similar remarks to NBC News, saying: “He showed that with that kind of disrespect for the military, he’s not qualified to be the president of the United States, because I don’t trust him to protect them.”
The former United Nations ambassador’s offensive follows remarks Trump made during a rally Saturday mocking her husband’s absence on the campaign trail.
“Where’s your husband? Oh, he’s away. He’s away. What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband? Where is he? He’s gone!” Trump said.
Haley also called out Trump’s own lack of military service.
“The most harm he’s ever come across is whether a golf ball hits him on a golf cart,” she said during a Monday gaggle to reporters in South Carolina. “And you’re gonna go and mock our men and women in the military? I don’t care what party you’re in, that’s not okay.”
Military deployment is “something you know nothing about,” she said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, directed at Trump.
In another post on X, Haley reminded her followers of multiple media reports in 2020 alleging that Trump referred to American service members who died in World War I as “suckers” and “losers” during conversation with staff. Trump denied this.
The former president has a long record of speaking poorly about service members. In 2015, he called the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was held for 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, “not a war hero,” and added, “I like people who weren’t captured.”
While on the campaign trail in 2016, Trump managed to insult both Gold Star families ― the relatives of people who died in the Iraq War ― and Muslims in one fell swoop when he implied it was a woman’s Islamic faith that prevented her from speaking about her fallen soldier son at that year’s Democratic National Convention.
“If you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me,” Trump said at the time of Ghazala Khan, whose husband, Khizr Khan, spoke at the DNC about their late son, Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan.
Ghazala Khan later gave an interview saying it was too painful for her to speak about her son because of her continued grief.
“[I] was very nervous, because I cannot see my son’s picture, I cannot even come in the room where his pictures are,” she said of her appearance at the DNC.
Haley’s suggestion that Trump is unqualified for the presidency comes amidst a legal showdown over whether he’s unqualified to appear on the ballot because of another reason. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week over a lower court’s decision to remove Trump from the Colorado primary ballot because he allegedly violated the 14th Amendment’s clause on inciting insurrection. The court is expected to fast-track their decision and issue a ruling soon.
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