Haley calls Navalny a ‘hero,’ saying Trump must answer for his death

Nikki Haley called on Saturday Alexei A. Navalny, Russia’s outspoken opposition leader, “a hero” and stepped up pressure on former President Donald J. Trump to respond to news of his death. She said Mr. Navalny died at the hands of President Vladimir V. Putin and Mr. Trump must “address that.”

Speaking to reporters outside her rally in a park in Irmo, South Carolina, Ms. Haley praised Mr. Navalny for denouncing Mr. Putin for corruption and election rigging. She said he fled his country and returned “to fight the good fight.”

“And then he was arrested, and now Putin has done to him what Putin does to all his opponents: he kills them,” she said, before turning to Mr. Trump, her rival in the presidential primary. Republican Party. “And Trump has to respond to that.” Does he think Putin killed him? Does he think Putin was right to kill him? And does he think Navalny was a hero?

Ms. Haley, a former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador under Mr. Trump, draws on her foreign policy experience and has long criticized her former boss for what she described as his love of dictators and leaders authoritarian. She has only increased criticism of him as they head toward a primary showdown in her home state on February 24.

Mr Trump has yet to comment publicly on Mr Navalny’s death. On Saturday, he attacked President Biden and said in an online message: “I am the only one who can bring peace, prosperity and stability like I did in my first term.” America will once again be respected and feared (if necessary!).

Friday, shortly after the news from Mme. NavalnyDeath has broken out, Mrs. Haley went further than most Republicans in attacking Mr. Trump for his past remarks praising Mr. Putin. At her rallies since then, she has highlighted Mr Trump’s warm relationship with the Russian leader and sought to sound the alarm over his suggestions that he would encourage Russian aggression against US allies in Europe.

On Saturday, she also addressed the news that Russia was developing a space nuclear weapon that could destroy satellites, calling for the prevention of war in space.

Russian authorities announced Friday that Mr. Navalny, who was serving several sentences in Russia, had died in a prison in the Arctic Circle. President Biden has said that U.S. officials did not have a full understanding of the circumstances, but that he believed “there is no doubt that Navalny’s death was a consequence of something Putin and his thugs did.”

At Saturday’s news conference, Ms. Haley asked Mr. Trump, “Why is he always on the side of dictators?”

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