Donald Trump Tried to Mock Nikki Haley – It May Have Backfired Big-Time: When it comes to former President Donald Trump's attacks on opponents, it is never just business. He has never been one not to make it personal. His playbook has long been filled with making such attacks – but perhaps his recent attempt to make it so personal could backfire in a big way.
On Saturday at a rally in South Carolina, Trump noted the absence of GOP opponent Nikki Haley's husband during a campaign rally.
"What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband? Where is he? He's gone! He knew. He knew," Trump said, though not clarifying what he meant that Michael Haley "knew."
In a response on X – the social media platform formerly known as Twitter – the former South Carolina Governor said of her husband, "Michael is deployed serving our country, something you know nothing about."
She also reaffirmed during a rally in Gilbert, South Carolina, that her husband is currently deployed to Africa as part of a National Guard mission. Major Michael Haley is a staff officer with the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, which is reported to be providing support in the Horn of Africa.
"I am proud of Michael's service. Every military spouse knows it's a family sacrifice," Haley stated, adding, "I have long talked about the fact that we need to have mental competency tests for anyone over the age of 75. Donald Trump claims that he would pass that maybe he would, maybe he wouldn't. But if you mock the service of a combat veteran, you don't deserve a driver's license, let alone being President of the United States."
Donald Trump – a Draft Dodger?
The former president has gone on the record that he avoided service in the Vietnam War through student and medical deferments.
As The Associated Press reported, this is just the latest example of the former president disparaging his opponents based on their U.S. military service. Trump infamously questioned whether the late Sen. John McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was actually a hero because Trump said he only liked "people who weren't captured." Throughout his political career, Trump has been repeatedly accused of disregarding longstanding norms on avoiding attacking current or past servicemembers or people in a politician's family.
Yet, Trump's recent comments also gave an opportunity for President Joe Biden to take a shot at the former president.
"The answer is that Major Haley is abroad, serving his country right now," Biden posted on X on Sunday. "We know [Trump] thinks our troops are 'suckers,' but this guy wouldn't know service to his country if it slapped him in the face."
Where is Donald Trump's Wife?
Trump's comments about the absence of Michael Haley also come as former First Lady Melania Trump has been largely absent from the campaign trail. She had not appeared with him at any public campaign event since his announcement speech in November 2022, until this past Saturday evening.
However, it should be noted that while she was present during the campaign event, it was hosted at his Mar-a-Lago residence. Whether she'll back on the campaign trail with him has yet to be seen – and he could have opened the door for his rivals to ask, "She's gone, she knows something…"
Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].