Former President Donald J. Trump continued his aggressive attacks on Nikki Haley Saturday, insinuating at a rally in South Carolina that her husband, a National Guardsmen, left for a deployment in order to escape her.
“What happened to her husband? Where is he?” Mr. Trump said to a crowd in Conway, S.C. “He’s gone.”
He then paused, before adding suggestively: “He knew. He knew.”
Mr. Trump’s comments, made in Ms. Haley’s home state two weeks before its Republican primary, are a stark turn in an escalating barrage of attacks on her as he looks to knock her out of contention in the Republican primary. Though he has for weeks criticized Ms. Haley’s political views and made vague swipes claiming she lacks a presidential temperament, he has refrained from making specific personal smears.
Later in his speech in South Carolina, Mr. Trump — who for months has referred to Ms. Haley as “birdbrain” without offering an explanation — called her “brain dead” while criticizing her position in national polls.
Ms. Haley’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but she posted a comment on X that referred to the absence of her husband, Michael, from the campaign trail.
“Michael is deployed serving our country, something you know nothing about. Someone who continually disrespects the sacrifices of military families has no business being commander in chief,” she wrote.