CONWAY, South Carolina — Former President Donald Trump made a fresh jab at his GOP opponent Nikki Haley’s husband during a rally Saturday afternoon, questioning his whereabouts as he’s deployed overseas.
While telling a story about Haley previously meeting Trump at his residence in Mar-a-Lago, he lobbed rhetorical and prodding questions to the rowdy crowd referencing Haley’s husband, who is currently on military deployment.
“Then she comes over to see me at Mar-a-Lago. ‘Sir, I will never run against you.’ She brought her husband. Where’s your husband? Oh, he’s away. He’s away. What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband? Where is he? He’s gone! He knew. He knew,” Trump said.
Shortly after Trump’s remarks, Haley said at a rally in Gilbert, South Carolina, that she was proud of her husband’s service.
“I am proud of Michael’s service. Every military spouse knows it’s a family sacrifice. … 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,” Haley said.
The former South Carolina governor issued a challenge directly to Trump.
“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,” she said.
Haley also blasted Trump’s comments in a post on X.
“Michael is deployed serving our country, something you know nothing about,” Haley wrote in response to Trump’s comments Saturday. “Someone who continually disrespects the sacrifices of military families has no business being commander in chief.”
Haley did not offer a theory of what Trump meant when he said, “He knew.”
Michael Haley also seemingly responded to Trump in a post on X, tagging him alongside a meme saying, “The difference between humans and animals? Animals would never allow the dumbest ones to lead the pack.”
The commissioned officer left for a yearlong deployment in Africa with the South Carolina National Guard last June, something Nikki Haley mentions at every campaign event during her stump speech.
In a speech last month, Trump referenced the state of the Haleys’ marriage to suggest that if the former South Carolina governor held a commanding lead in the GOP primary, Democrats would indict her and say she was having an affair.
“They’ll be indicted, because they’ll say she was having an affair or something, you know. That doesn’t mean it’s lying. But she’ll be indicted for something,” Trump said.
Haley has gone after Trump with new force since the primary’s focus moved to her home state of South Carolina. Earlier Saturday, the Haley campaign debuted a mobile billboard featuring photos of Trump and Biden as “Grumpy Old Men,” which was driven around Trump’s rally in Conway.
While debuting her brand-new campaign bus at its first stop in Newberry, South Carolina, on Saturday afternoon, Haley spoke of both Biden’s and Trump’s confusion.
“Why can’t they let go of the power and let a new generational leader come in there?” she said.
An audience member yelled out, “No grumpy old men!”
Haley responded by saying, “They are grumpy old men. But I’ll tell you: We can do better.”
Trump, the front-runner for the nomination, is polling well ahead of Haley in the South Carolina primary.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com