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Nikki Haley Takes On Trump Over North Korea in New Hampshire

Donald Trump, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, is dancing on stage after a campaign event at the Grappone Convention Center in Concord, New Hampshire, on the 19th (local time)./AFP·Yonhap News

Nikki Haley’s campaign releases a three-minute ad targeting Donald Trump over his handling of the U.S. relationship with North Korea.

With Donald Trump ruling out Nikki Haley as his pick for vice and Haley making it clear that she doesn’t want to be anybody’s vice president, Haley plans to make a decisive move against Trump in the Republican primary race in New Hampshire on the 23rd (local time).

However, according to a New Hampshire poll released on the 20th, Donald Trump holds 53% versus 36% for Nikki Haley, maintaining a 17% lead, which suggests Haley is met with challenges with framing her campaign’s next chapter as a “two-person race” between Trump and herself.

Nikki Haley, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, is giving a speech at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on the 19th (local time)./EPA·Yonhap News

Haley’s Ad Criticizing Trump

Haley plans to air a 3-minute TV ad criticizing Trump’s North Korea policy on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, which includes testimony featuring the mother of an American college student, Otto Warmbier, who died in 2017 after being detained by North Korea, the previous year, according to CBS News.

Otto Warmbier, a student at the University of Virginia, was arrested while visiting North Korea as part of a tour group in January 2016. A North Korean court sentenced Otto Warmbier to 15 years imprisonment with hard labor on charges that he attempted to steal a propaganda poster. He was freed – seriously ill – 17 months after his arrest and died in a hospital six days after returning to the US in June 2017. Since then, Warmbier’s parents have been campaigning against the Kim Jong Un North Korean regime and filed a suit demanding North Korea to pay more than $500 million over Otto’s death.

American college student Otto Warmbier is appearing in a courtroom in Pyongyang, North Korea, on March 16, 2016./AP·Yonhap News
Fred Warmbier and Cindy Warmbier, parents of American college student Otto Warmbier, who was detained in North Korea and died shortly after returning, are attending a meeting at the UN headquarters in New York on May 3, 2018 (local time)./AP·Yonhap News

Warmbier’s Mother’s Testimony

In the ad, Mrs. Warmbier said, “When we were begging the Obama administration for help, they told us to be quiet and be patient. Nikki told us the opposite. She told me it’s OK to be afraid like I am now, but I had to push through the fear.”

Mrs. Warmbier thanked Haley, the UN ambassador of the Trump administration during Otto Warmbier’s release negotiations, and touted Haley’s “strength” and “compassion” during the difficult time for the family.

She emphasized, “I will tell you about her strength, compassion, and belief that every human being is worth fighting for. I will tell you that Nikki didn’t help me because it was her job. She did it as a mom, a friend, and a fighter who made my fight her own. ”

CBS evaluated that Haley’s presidential campaign is featuring the grieving mother’s story to remind voters of Trump’s “friendly” approach to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

At a campaign event at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, on the 14th, a day before the caucus, Trump expressed his intimacy with Kim Jong Un, with whom he had three meetings during his presidency, saying, “He is very smart, very tough, and he liked me,” and “I get along well with him.”

In particular, he prompted outrage in 2019 by saying he didn’t blame Kim for Otto Warmbier’s death. “Some terrible things happened to Otto, some really, really bad things. But [Kim] tells me he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word.”

Haley’s campaign criticized, “Donald Trump played an important role in bringing Otto’s body home and holding North Korea accountable, but he switched his tune when he “fell in love” with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.”

Donald Trump, then President of the United States, and Kim Jong-un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea, are smiling ahead of a dinner at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27, 2019 (local time)./UPI·Yonhap News

Trump-Haley, Unlikely to be Running Mates

Haley previously dismissed the possibility of being Trump’s running mate at a dinner event in Amherst, New Hampshire, the day before, saying, “As I’ve always said, I don’t want to be anyone’s vice president. This (the vice presidential candidacy) is off the table.”

Trump also virtually dismissed the possibility of selecting Nikki Haley as his vice-presidential running mate.

At a Concord, New Hampshire campaign event, he said, “She is OK, but she is not presidential timber.” And when I say that, that probably means she will not be chosen as the Vice President.”

He further claimed that she would not be able to “stand up to” Xi Jinping, President of China, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, or Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea, because she is not strong enough, smart enough, or respected enough.

New Hampshire Poll and Support Rate 

Trump stated at the event that he would end the Republican presidential nomination in the New Hampshire primary and focus on the main election battle with ‘worst’ President Joe Biden.

In the Iowa caucus conducted on the 15th, Trump won a landslide victory with 51.0% of the votes, while Haley came in third with 19.1% of the votes, behind Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, who received 21.2% of the votes.

Although there was a poll before the Iowa caucus that Haley was chasing Trump by a single digit in New Hampshire, a poll released on the day showed that she was 17% behind.

In a survey (sample error ±4.4%) conducted by Suffolk University, NBC10, and The Boston Globe on the 18th and 19th with 500 voters who are likely to participate in the New Hampshire primary, Trump showed an overwhelming advantage with a 53% approval rating, followed by Haley with 36% and DeSantis with 7%. The approval ratings of all three candidates increased by 1% point compared to the survey conducted the day before.

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