Nikki Haley announces run for president
CHARLESTON, S.C. >> Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador, announced her candidacy for president on Tuesday, becoming the first major challenger to former President Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination.
The announcement, delivered in a tweeted video, marks an about-face for the ex-Trump Cabinet official, who said two years ago that she wouldn’t challenge her former boss for the White House in 2024. But she changed her mind in recent months, citing, among other things, the country’s economic troubles and the need for “generational change,” a nod to the 76-year-old Trump’s age.
“You should know this about me. I don’t put up with bullies. And when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels,” Haley said. “I’m Nikki Haley, and I’m running for president.”
Haley, 51, is the first in a long line of Republicans who are expected to launch 2024 campaigns in the coming months. Among them are Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.
President Joe Biden has said he intends to seek reelection in 2024, stalling any jostling for the Democratic nomination.
Haley has regularly boasted about her track record of defying political expectations, saying, “I’ve never lost an election, and I’m not going to start now.”
If elected, Haley would be the nation’s first female president and the first U.S. president of Indian descent.
The daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley grew up enduring racist taunts in a small South Carolina town and has long referenced that impact on her personal and political arc.
In the three-and-a-half minute video, Haley referenced that past, saying she grew up “not Black, not white — I was different.”
Despite that, Haley insisted that America is not a racist country: “Nothing could be further from the truth.” Playing in the background of her video were images of media reports related to The New York Times Magazine’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project” — which centered the country’s history around slavery.
Haley never mentions Trump by name in the video, instead saying “the Washington establishment has failed us over and over and over again.” Haley leans into a call for “a new generation of leadership,” which has become the refrain of her messaging leading up to the launch.
There appears to be openness among Republicans to new leadership, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. In an open-ended question asking Republicans to choose who they want to lead their party, a majority of Republicans didn’t choose either Trump or DeSantis, considered the former president’s top rival. But they also didn’t have a clear alternative in mind.
Eleven other politicians, including Haley, are named by just 1% of Republicans as their preferred leader.
In a statement, Taylor Budowich, spokesman for Trump’s super PAC, said Haley was “just another career politician.”
“She started out as a Never Trumper before resigning to serve in the Trump admin,” he said. “She then resigned early to go rake in money on corporate boards. Now, she’s telling us she represents a ‘new generation.’ Sure just looks like more of the same, a career politician whose only fulfilled commitment is to herself.”