WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Nikki Haley came to each other’s defence against a rampaging Donald Trump, whose open incitement to Russia to attack Nato allies if they did not pay for protection continued to convulse Washington and European capitals.
Lashing out at Trump for his virtual invitation to Russia to invade Nato countries with remarks that have inflamed Washington’s traditional foreign policy mavens, Haley said the comments showed Trump is “lacking moral clarity” and they “should send a chill up everyone’s spine”.”It’s the kind of comment that makes Biden look clear-headed,” Haley said in an oblique reference to a justice department report that referred to the president as an “elderly man with poor memory”. Her campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has seen her attack both men on grounds of age and mental acuity.
Biden, meanwhile, defended Haley against Trump’s crude suggestion that her husband, Michael Haley, who is serving in the US National Guard in the Horn of Africa, had left her over an alleged affair. “The answer is that Major Haley is abroad, serving his country right now…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.” Biden said.
Haley too continued to attack Trump for avoiding military service, telling Politico: “Military families go through a lot. And the fact that Donald Trump’s never even got near a military uniform, he’s never had that experience, never known what it’s like, goes to show why he continues to call them suckers and losers.”
“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 US,” she said at a rally.
Trump remarks, widely seen as inflammatory, does not appear to have cost him any support among his MAGA faithful. Even Republican grandees who in the past have been foreign policy hawks muted any criticism of his provocative comments on Nato, a stance that enraged Haley, who served as the Trump White House’s ambassador to the UN. “Why is there silence from the Republican Party? Like, where is everybody? Where are the Republicans in defence of our men and women in uniform that sacrifice for us and protect our country?” she asked.
Some polls show Haley leading Biden in general election matchup, but to get there she will have to beat Trump for the Republican nomination, which shows Trump far ahead of her even in her home state South Carolina, which will have its primary election next week.

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