But with both Trump and Haley declining to participate, an ABC spokeswoman said in a statement Tuesday evening that its discussion was off. “Our intent was to have a debate from the Iowa caucuses, but we always knew it would depend on the candidates and the outcome of the race,” a network spokeswoman said.
CNN did not respond to a request for comment and has not made any public comment on its planning.
Haley's challenge to Trump comes after the former UN ambassador finished third in the Iowa caucuses on Monday night. Trump was the favorite, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis a close second.
Although DeSantis accepted the invitation to the CNN debate, Trump already has a New Hampshire rally scheduled for Sunday.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, DeSantis said Haley “doesn't want to answer tough questions because she's afraid of debate” and accused her of running for Trump's vice presidency.
“I will not disappoint New Hampshire voters like Nikki Haley and Donald Trump, and I plan to honor my commitments,” DeSantis said in the recording. “I look forward to discussing two empty platforms in the Granite State this week.”
Haley said her close third-place finish Monday night turned the campaign into a head-to-head race between her and Trump.
“I can safely say tonight that Iowa turned this Republican primary into a two-person contest,” Haley said.
Lisa Kashinsky contributed to this report.
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