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Former Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley | Credits: Getty Images
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Nikki Haley criticizes DeSantis’s campaigning with Rep. Massie

United States: Former Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley has denounced Republican presidential rival Ron DeSantis in Iowa for campaigning in the state with Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, the lone House Republican who voted against a GOP resolution denouncing anti-semitism on college campuses last week.

“You can’t be pro-Israel and bring the most anti-Israel Republican into this state, who voted against fighting anti-semitism on college campuses,” Haley said, adding, “And that’s who he brought to your state,” according to Associated Press. 

Haley’s criticism of DeSantis for campaigning with Massie on Saturday comes at the end of a campaign event at a suburban Des Moines bar and grill, and it underscored the rising pressure on the two to emerge from Iowa as the better alternative to former President Donald Trump.

Campaign Dynamics Heat Up in Iowa

Trump said last week at a campaign gathering that the Iowa blowout would help him energize the party early in the 2024 elections. “The margin of victory is very important; it’s just very important,” Trump told his audience in Coralville.

With less than a month until the Iowa caucuses, DeSantis and Haley have increasingly sparred openly, as they did during debates, while commercials by groups backing both have attempted to stymie the other’s growth in Iowa.

DeSantis and Massie campaigned together in Iowa and led a town hall-style event aimed at gun rights policy in Johnston, Iowa, a northern Des Moines suburb, as per AP.

Massie has previously criticized anti-Semitism legislation as limiting free expression, voting against analogous GOP-sponsored resolutions since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

Rep Thomas Massie’s recent post on X, targeting Nikki Haley

Most Republicans prioritize support for Israel, particularly evangelical Christians, who comprise a powerful group in the Iowa GOP and, many of whom believe Jews are God’s chosen people and that Israel is their rightful state.

DeSantis has called for US support for Israel, highlighting his efforts from Florida to transport medical supplies to the nation and remove hundreds of Americans from Israel in the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas attack. DeSantis has also advocated for the annihilation of Hamas. His campaign dismissed the criticism of campaigning with Massie.

“Ron DeSantis has been the clearest, most consistent pro-Israel candidate in the race,” DeSantis’ campaign press secretary Bryan Griffin said. “He has unequivocally supported Israel in exterminating Hamas,” he further mentioned.

Haley’s Strong Stance on Hamas and Israel

Haley is encouraging Israel to “finish them,” referring to Hamas, the terrorist organization responsible for the October 7 attack, according to the report by the AP.

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