ABC News canceled the Thursday Republican primary debate it had planned in collaboration with New Hampshire TV station WMUR, citing a lack of candidate participation.
“Our intent was to host a debate coming out of the Iowa caucuses, but we always knew that would be contingent on the candidates and the outcome of the race,” an ABC News spokesperson said in a statement. “While our robust election coverage will continue, ABC News and WMUR-TV will not be moving forward with Thursday’s Republican presidential primary debate in New Hampshire.”
Former President Donald Trump has not attended any debates this campaign and unsurprisingly declined ABC News’ invitation. Nikki Haley also refused to partake in this debate, saying that Trump is the only one she has left to debate.
“He can’t hide forever,” the former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador under Trump said in an interview on CNN.
"That's who I'm running against… There is nobody else I need to debate." – @NikkiHaley says of Donald Trump after I pressed her on her announcement that she will not take part in any more debates against Ron DeSantis. Here's part 2 of our conversation with @GovChrisSununu. pic.twitter.com/u7NLtrtG9q
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) January 16, 2024
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized Haley’s decision, saying, “I committed to it. She is now saying that she’s not going to debate. I understand why,” referencing her performance in Iowa. She came in a narrow third to DeSantis’s second-place showing.
ABC/WMUR debate officially off per spox. This morning in Greenville, @RonDeSantis criticized @NikkiHaley for not committing to debate, said her team has her “hermetically sealed” & that “she’s not going to win NH.” pic.twitter.com/kQt0vLVkVz
— Kit Maher (@KitMaherCNN) January 16, 2024
ABC News and WMUR set a deadline of Tuesday afternoon for both Trump and Haley’s response to the debate invitation. Neither would confirm their participation.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also qualified for the ABC debate. However, he dropped out of the race last week, just before the Iowa Caucus kicked off the primary election.
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