Nikki Haley Announces She Is Running For President
Nikki Haley, who served as U.N. ambassador and governor of South Carolina, announced Tuesday that she is running for president, becoming the first major rival to officially challenge Donald Trump for the GOP nomination in 2024.
Haley made her announcement in a 3½-minute video released online, in which she declares, “It’s time for a new generation of leadership.” The video emphasizes Haley’s gender and her family’s immigrant roots.
A veteran of the Trump administration, Haley begins as an underdog in the GOP race. If successful, she would become the first woman and first Asian American to lead the Republican ticket. She previously made history as the country’s first female Asian American governor and the first Indian American to serve in the Cabinet.
Haley has shifted her posture toward Trump over the years. She criticized him when he first ran in 2016, before joining his administration the next year and later vowing not to run against him in 2024. In recent months, she has disavowed the pledge as she moved toward a planned announcement speech here in Charleston on Wednesday.
Her announcement comes three months after the entrance of Trump, who announced his third White House bid in November. The campaign has progressed slowly, with other Republicans, including governors, senators and former Trump officials, signaling an interest in the contest and making moves toward jumping in. But most are taking their time, determined not to rush.
Haley makes no mention of Trump in her video but notes that Republicans have lost the popular vote in seven out of eight elections, and she rails against the “Washington establishment.” Trump lost the popular vote twice.
“I’m Nikki Haley, and I’m running for president,” she says in her video, which seeks to take an optimistic view of the country and its past. “The railroad tracks divided the town by race,” she begins, referring to her hometown. “I was the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. Not Black, not White, I was different.”
Haley adds that her mother urged her to focus on similarities, not differences, and she criticizes those who she says “think our ideas are not just wrong but racist and evil.” A sign reading “Racism is a pandemic” and an American flag burning flash on-screen at one point.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Haley adds. She says she “saw evil,” citing killings in China and Iran.
Haley will continue her early-state travel this week, holding a series of town halls in New Hampshire and Iowa hoping to build a following amid polls showing her lagging well behind Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential candidate.
Haley takes aim in her video at President Biden and warns of the threat posed by China and Russia. “I don’t put up with bullies, and when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels,” she says.