Former Ambassador Nikki Haley is facing criticism from her GOP opponents and some Iowans on the ground over a comment she made to a New Hampshire audience suggesting Iowa “starts” the election process and New Hampshire will “correct it.”

Campaigning in Milford, New Hampshire, Wednesday, Haley told the large crowd listening to her that “we have an opportunity to get this right. And I know we’ll get it right, and I trust you. I trust every single one of you. You know how to do this. You know Iowa starts it. You know that you correct it.”

That comment didn’t sit well with some Iowa caucus-goers leaning toward Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Rooted out of our history of hard-working Iowans, Iowa has always been a pulse of the nation, where the term heartland comes from,” Mark Putney of Fayette County, Iowa, said in response to Haley’s remark. 


“Nikki Haley’s comments are an insult to Iowans like myself who take pride in being the first-in-the-nation caucus. The next president must be someone who appreciates Iowans, not belittles us due to her poor performance in the race.”

Brenda Sandburg of Benton County, Iowa, said, “As an Iowan and a caucus-goer” she is “offended but not surprised.

“Nikki Haley has shown herself to be completely out of touch with rural America, and she has no business being President of the United States.”

“I am sick of elitist politicians who think they know better than the people who they are supposed to serve,” Lori Tiangco of Polk County, Iowa, said. “It’s Ms. Haley who needs to be corrected, not us, and our voices will be heard on Jan. 15.” 


DeSantis addressed the issue in a radio interview with KFAB Thursday.

“I think it was incredibly disrespectful to Iowans to say somehow their votes need to be, quote, corrected,” DeSantis said. “I think she’s trying to provide an excuse for her not doing well. You know, her allies and her have spent a huge amount of money here. 

“A lot of this money is coming from liberal donors on Wall Street and California. These are people that have supported Liberal Democrats in the past, and they’re gravitating to Nikki Haley because they know she’s not going to change anything in Washington. 

“She’s been governor for six years. What achievements did she have in South Carolina? Literally nothing. Her main achievement was being the No. 1 Republican governor for bringing Chinese investment into her state. It’s a huge contrast to a leadership of Gov. Reynolds or myself. But I thought what she said to Iowans was very disrespectful.”

In response to a request for comment from Fox News Digital, the Haley campaign pointed to reactions from Iowa caucus-goers supporting Haley who were unfazed by the “lighthearted joke.”

“It was a lighthearted joke playing up the rivalry between Iowa and New Hampshire,” Austin Harris, an Iowa state representative, said. “Her opponents are clearly desperate because she is rising in the polls, and they’re terrified. So, they will grasp at anything.”

“This is what we like about Nikki – she’s a real person, she’s not scripted,” Emily Schmitt, general counsel at Sukup Manufacturing, said. “If her opponents are attacking her based on an offhand remark, that’s more proof of what we already knew, that she’s got the momentum and the support of Iowans.”

“The media outrage on this – like most things – is completely detached from reality on the ground in Iowa,” Iowa state Sen. Chris Cournoyer said. “Nikki Haley continues to win over caucus-goers ahead of Jan. 15. She’s done over 70 town halls in the state, taking questions directly from folks. The bottom line, Haley is positioned to do very well on caucus day.”

Haley is polling at 16.1% in Iowa with about two weeks before the Iowa Caucus, which puts her in third place behind former President Trump at 51.3% and DeSantis at 18.6%.

Fox News Digital’s Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report