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Trump questions absence of Haley's deployed husband from campaign trail

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Conway, South Carolina — Former president Donald Trump questioned the whereabouts of former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley's husband during a rally Saturday in the Palmetto state. 

"Where's her husband? Oh, he's away," Trump said. "What happened to her husband? Where is he? He's gone." 

Maj. Michael Haley, who is a commissioned officer with the South Carolina National Guard, is on deployment with the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in the Horn of Africa. Maj. Haley voluntarily deployed last June, according to the Associated Press. This marks his second deployment with the Army in Africa. 

Haley responded immediately to the attacks upon taking the stage at her Saturday rally in Lexington, South Carolina. 

"Donald Trump had a rally today and in that rally, he mocked my husband's military service," Haley said. "I will say this Donald. If you have something to say, don't say it behind my back, get on a debate stage and say it to my face."

Nikki Haley in Myrtle Beach
FILE -- Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, with her husband Michael Haley after a campaign event at Horry-Georgetown Technical College in South Carolina on March 13, 2023. Allison Joyce/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Haley went on to defend her husband's military service, adding that his deployment has been a family sacrifice, and again, called on the need for mental competency tests for politicians over the age of 75. 

"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."

In a rare rebuke, Michael Haley responded to Trump's attacks directly on social media, posting a photo caption with text that read, "The difference between humans and animals? Animals would never allow the dumbest ones to lead the pack."

Her husband's deployment is a cornerstone of Haley's campaign stump speech, where she mentions the troubles he had after coming home from Afghanistan. 

"I'm doing this for my husband and his military brothers and sisters," Haley said during a Republican presidential debate in December. "They need to know their sacrifice matters. They need to know that we love our country."

Former first lady Melania Trump has not appeared on the campaign trail with her husband since November 2022 when he launched his third bid for the White House. 

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