Indian American leader says she has ‘never lost a race’ and could give Republican Party a new direction
Republican leader Nikki Haley, the first Indian American to get a cabinet rank as US ambassador to UN under former President Donald Trump, says she’s close on making a decision to run for president in 2024.
“Well, when you’re looking at a run for president, you look at two things. You first look at, ‘does the current situation push for new?’ The second question is, ‘am I that person that could be that new leader?’” said Haley, a former South Carolina governor, in an interview with Fox News Thursday.
Read: Nikki Haley hints at 2024 presidential run (November 22, 2022)
“You know, on the first question, you can look all across the board, domestic, foreign policy. You can look at, you know, inflation going up, economy shrinking, government getting bigger, you know, small business owners not being able to pay their rent. Big businesses getting these bailouts, all of these things warrant the fact that, yes, we need to go in a new direction,” she said.
“So do I think I could be that leader? Yes, But we are still working through things and we’ll figure it out. I’ve never lost a race. I said that then I still say that now. I’m not going to lose now,” Haley added.
Haley, 51, was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa to immigrant Sikh parents in the South Carolina. Her father, Ajit Singh Randhawa, and her mother, Raj Kaur Randhawa, immigrated to the US from Punjab.
When asked about a statement she previously gave to an Associated Press reporter, stating that she “would not run if President Trump ran,” Haley said that the “survival of America matters.”
“It’s bigger than one person. And when you’re looking at the future of America, I think it’s time for new generational change. I don’t think you need to be 80 years old to go be a leader in DC,” Haley said. “I think we need a young generation to come in, step up, and really start fixing things.”
Read: In campaign style speech Nikki Haley touts her role at UN (December 3, 2021)
Referring back to her statement on Trump, Haley said that she “said that before we surrendered to Afghanistan, it was before we saw this high inflation and high crime, it was before we saw drugs infesting all of our states, it was before we saw our foreign policy in disarray, so a lot has changed.”
“And when I look at that, I look at the fact if I’m this passionate and I’m this determined, why not me?,” Haley said. But when asked if she was getting close to the exploratory committee phase of a possible presidential campaign, she said to “stay tuned.”
Haley, who resigned from the Trump administration in October 2018 after two years as ambassador to UN, said she did extremely well as governor and ambassador.
“As governor, I took on a hurting state with double-digit unemployment, and we made it the best. As ambassador, I took on the world when they tried to disrespect us. I think I showed what I’m capable of at the United Nations,” she asserted.
Haley, the second governor of Indian descent after fellow Republican Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, said it was time to bring new leadership to the Republican Party.
“We have lost the last seven out of eight popular votes for president. Seven out of eight Republicans have lost. Something is wrong. And so I think it’s time that we bring in a new generation that can bring in more people to our party, that can really talk about the solutions that we need to go,” she said.
Read: Nikki Haley calls for formal US alliance with India (October 27, 2021)
Haley also emphasized that President Joe Biden, at 80, the oldest sitting US President, should not get a second term. “If I run, I’m running against Joe Biden. That’s what I’m focused on, because we can’t have a second term of Joe Biden,” she said.
Haley also slammed her former cabinet colleague Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of State, who in his recent book alleged that she plotted to replace Mike Pence as Trump’s vice president.
“I received a call one evening from John Kelly, chief of staff, who apologized for allowing Ambassador Haley to go to the Oval Office,” Pompeo wrote.
“She had not gone there for a personal matter but had entered the Oval Office with the president’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared. As best Kelly could tell, they were presenting a possible Haley for vice president option. He was certain he had been played.”
Haley described the allegations as lies. “No,” she said when asked if that was true.
Read: ‘May the best woman win’: Former S.C. Governor Nikki Haley hints at 2024 presidential bid (January 20, 2023)
“Pompeo even says he’s not sure if it’s true. I never had a conversation with Jared, Ivanka or the president about the vice presidentship. And what I will tell you is, it’s really sad when you’re having to go out there and put lies and gossip to sell a book,” she said.
“I mean, I don’t know why he said it, but that’s exactly why I stayed out of DC as much as possible, to get away from the drama and get away from the gossip. I focused on my job. And that’s what I always did,” Haley said.