In the fourth Republican presidential debate, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley became the central target for criticism from her rivals. With her rising poll numbers and increasing support from influential financial contributors, Haley faced direct confrontations right from the onset. Notably, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Ohio entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy scrutinized her growing support from Wall Street donors and her foreign policy orientations.
Haley's Rising Popularity and Criticism
The debate, held in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, witnessed both DeSantis and Ramaswamy attacking Haley's economic views and financial affiliations. Her surge in polls has elicited a recent influx of donations from Wall Street veterans and other high-profile donors. According to CNBC, Haley raised over half a million dollars at a New York City penthouse event packed with financial magnates. Her rising popularity comes at a time when President Joe Biden's standing on the economy is faltering, even with decreasing gas prices and inflation rates. This provides Republicans with an opportune moment.
China: A Point of Contention
Haley's stance on China became a point of contention during the debate. She asserted that China would take action to curb the flow of drugs, basing her confidence on the belief that China 'needs' the United States. This statement indicates a strategic leveraging of the US's economic significance to influence China's actions on international matters like drug trafficking.
The Republican Race Intensifies
This debate moment underscores the escalating competition among Republican candidates and the scrutiny of their financial backing and policy stances. With the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses next month, the debate could be one of the last opportunities for DeSantis to undercut Haley's momentum. While DeSantis's poll numbers have been tapering off, Haley's have steadily increased. Some polls now show Haley in the second place in the key primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina, and closing in on DeSantis in Iowa.