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Haley, DeSantis fire shots at Trump in head-to-head debate: ‘He did not deliver’

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Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis went head-to-head in the fifth GOP presidential primary debate Wednesday night, but not without taking several shots at the front-runner in the race who was absent from the matchup – former President Donald Trump.

Trump declined to attend the CNN debate in Iowa, as he has for previous debates, despite qualifying. The former president instead attended a town hall on Fox News Channel, which was also held in Des Moines, Iowa.

Haley and DeSantis were asked whether Trump has the ‘character’ to be president again.

‘I think the next president needs to have moral clarity,’ responded Haley, a former two-term South Carolina governor. ‘I think you need to have moral clarity to understand that it’s taxpayer money, not your own money. I think you need to have moral clarity to understand that when you’re dealing with dictators in the world, that we always have to fight for democracies and human rights and protecting Americans and preventing war.’

CHRIS CHRISTIE DROPS OUT OF 2024 RACE, TAKES SHOTS AT HALEY WHILE ENDING REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 

So I don’t think that President Trump is the right president to go forward,’ she said. ‘I think it’s time for a new generational leader that’s going to go and make America proud again.’

I wish Donald Trump was up here on this stage,’ she added later. ‘He’s the one that I’m running against. He’s the one that I wish would be here. He needs to be defending his record.’

DeSantis said Trump didn’t deliver on multiple campaign promises during his presidency on issues like bringing down the national debt and border security.

‘I appreciated what President Trump did, but let’s just be honest: He said he was going to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. He did not deliver that,’ the governor said. ‘He said he was going to drain the swamp. He did not deliver that. He said he was going to hold Hillary accountable, and he let her off the hook. He said he was going to eliminate the debt and he added $7.8 trillion to the debt. So, we need to deliver and get this stuff done.’

DeSantis later said that unlike Trump, he would have Mexico pay for a border wall as president.

We will build a wall,’ he said. ‘We will actually have Mexico pay for it in the way that I thought Donald Trump was. We’re going to charge fees on remittances that workers send to foreign countries. Billions of dollars will build the wall.’

‘He also promised record deportations,’ he continued. ‘Donald Trump deported fewer people than Barack Obama did when he was president. Biden has let in 8 million people just in four years. They all have to go back.’

DeSantis also hit Trump for not showing up at the debate, saying, ‘Donald Trump should be on this stage.’

‘Every candidate needs to earn your vote,’ he said. ‘Nobody’s entitled to your vote, and he comes in here every now, and then he does his spiel and then he leaves. I’ve shown up to all 99 counties because it’s important. You’re a servant of the people, you are not a ruler over people, and that’s the type of president that I will be.’

The Trump campaign dismissed the attacks when reached by Fox News Digital Wednesday evening.

‘When two losers fighting for distant second place are cat fighting in front of 10 viewers on CNN, they don’t have a leg to stand on,’ a spokesperson said.

The debate came just five days before the Iowa caucuses kick off the 2024 voting calendar.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped out of the race just hours before the debate started.

Christie, one of the most vocal Trump critics in the GOP, urged voters not to support the former president during his speech announcing his campaign’s suspension at a town hall event in Windham, New Hampshire.

‘I also know though, this is the right thing for me to do. Because I want to promise you this – I am going to make sure that in no way do I enable Donald Trump to ever be President of the United States again. And that’s more important than my own personal ambitions,’ Christie said.

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS

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