‘We Have To Win’: Nikki Haley Rebukes Trump and DeSantis on Ukraine War

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Presidential hopeful Nikki Haley took on fellow Republican candidates Sunday on the topic of the Ukraine war, which she said "we have to win."

"This is bigger than Ukraine. This is a war about freedom, and it's one we have to win," Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said during a town hall on CNN. Haley's position puts her in contrast with the candidates ahead of her in the polls, former president Donald Trump and Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who have called for a negotiated end to the conflict. Haley, on the other hand, insists the United States must give full support to Ukraine so it can defeat Russia.

"A win for Ukraine is a win for all of us," Haley said. "The way you prevent war is ... that we get with our allies and that we make sure that we give them the equipment and the ammunition to win."

"For them to sit there and say this is just a territorial dispute, that’s just not the case," Haley said in a criticism of earlier comments on the war by DeSantis, who later softened his tone and called Russian president Vladimir Putin a "thug with a gas station."

Trump has called for a peaceful resolution to the war, telling a CNN town hall last month he "wants everybody to stop dying." He added he will end the war "in 24 hours" if reelected.

Haley criticized the leading Republicans further by calling January 6, 2021 a "terrible day" and DeSantis's fight with Disney a "vendetta."

"All this vendetta stuff? We’ve been down that road," Haley said.

She also called out Trump for congratulating North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week after the country was elected to the executive board of the World Health Organization.

"Kim Jong Un is a thug," Haley said. "I don't think we should congratulate dictators."

Haley declared her White House bid in February but finds herself in a crowded Republican field that will reach double digits this week with the entrance of more contenders, including former vice president Mike Pence.

Trump dominates the field among potential Republican primary voters with 49 percent support, followed by DeSantis with 19 percent. The two are polling far above the rest of the field, including Haley; she has just 4 percent support, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll conducted in May.