If elected, Haley would be the nationâ€™s first female president and the first US president of Indian descent
Prominent Indian-American politician Nikki Haley jumped into the 2024 US presidential race on Tuesday, becoming the first major challenger to former President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.
Born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa, Haley, 51, was the first Indian American to serve in a presidential cabinet as US ambassador to the United Nations under Trump. If elected, she would be the nationâ€™s first female president and the first US president of Indian descent.
Read: Nikki Haley faces a serious uphill climb: The Hill (February 3, 2023)
“Iâ€™m Nikki Haley, and Iâ€™m running for President,â€ she announced in a in a three-and-a-half minute video posted to Twitter, touting her accomplishments as a former two-term Governor of South Carolina.
“Itâ€™s time for a new generation of leadership â€“ â€œto rediscover fiscal responsibility, secure our border and strengthen our country, our pride and our purpose.â€
â€œRepublicans have lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections. That has to change,â€ Haley said in the video. â€œJoe Bidenâ€™s record is abysmal, but that shouldnâ€™t come as a surprise. The Washington establishment has failed us over and over and over again.â€
â€œSome people look at America and see vulnerability. The socialist left sees an opportunity to rewrite history,â€ she said. â€œChina and Russia are on the march. They all think we can be bullied, kicked around. You should know this about me: I donâ€™t put up with bullies. And when you kick back, it hurts them more if youâ€™re wearing heels.â€
Identifying herself as proud daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley talked about growing up in Bamberg, South Carolina, where â€œthe railroad tracks divided the town by race,â€ and how it shaped her belief in a strong and proud America.
â€œWe turned away from fear toward God and the values that still make our country the freest and greatest in the world. We must turn in that direction again,â€ she said.
But â€œeven on our worst day, weâ€™re blessed to live in America,â€ she said giving examples of atrocities that have happened in other countries such as genocide in China and the Iran government murdering its own people.
Read: Nikki Haley poised to enter 2024 presidential raceÂ (February 1, 2023)
Haley had previously said in 2021 she wouldnâ€™t run for president in 2024 if Trump decided to run â€” and that she would support the former president â€” but last month she shifted her tone.
â€œItâ€™s bigger than one person. And when youâ€™re looking at the future of America, I think itâ€™s time for new generational change. I donâ€™t think you need to be 80 years old to go be a leader in DC,â€ she told Fox News in January giving the first hint of her presidential run.
While sheâ€™s the first Republican after Trump to enter the race, several other Republican candidates are still expected to run, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Vice President Mike Pence and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.
Even with Haleyâ€™s head start launching her campaign ahead of others in the Republican party, a potentially crowded Republican field could splinter support and fundraising resources, Politico suggested.
Already in her home state of South Carolina, Trump has earned a handful of prominent endorsements. And if Scott chooses to run, the two will likely enter a battle for endorsements from their many shared advisers, donors and allies in the Palmetto State and beyond, it said.
Early polls show her trailing behind Trump and DeSantis, but should Haley win the Republican primary, she would make history as the first woman and first Asian American to lead the Republican ticket.
She was previously the first female Asian American governor in the country and the second Indian American governor after Bobby Jindal of Louisiana
Haley is set to deliver remarks at a campaign event in Charleston, SC, on Wednesday at 11 am Sheâ€™s also traveling to Iowa and New Hampshire later in the week, where sheâ€™ll host town halls.
Read: Nikki Haley hints at presidential run in 2024Â (January 21, 2023)
Haley was an accountant when she launched her first bid for public office, defeating the longest-serving member of the South Carolina House in 2004. Three terms later and with little statewide recognition, Haley mounted a long-shot campaign for governor against a large field of experienced politicians.
With her 2010 victory, Haley became South Carolinaâ€™s first female and minority governor â€” and the nationâ€™s youngest at 38. She earned a speaking slot at the 2012 Republican National Convention and gave the Republican response to President Barack Obamaâ€™s State of the Union in 2016.
In the 2016 presidential primary, Haley was an early supporter of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, later shifting to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. She ultimately said she would back the partyâ€™s nominee.
Read: Republican Nikki Haley enters 2024 presidential race (February 14, 2023)
Shortly after Trumpâ€™s victory, he tapped Haley to be his UN ambassador. Her departure from the job in 2018 fueled speculation that she would challenge Trump in 2020 or replace Pence on the ticket. She did neither.
After the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, Haley initially cast doubts on Trumpâ€™s political future but said she wouldnâ€™t challenge him in 2024. She later shifted course, citing inflation, crime, drugs and a â€œforeign policy in disarrayâ€ among her reasons for considering a White House campaign.
Read: Read: Nikki Haley pulls key support from Ron DeSantis (February 9, 2023)
Read: Nikki Haley hints at 2024 presidential runÂ (November 22, 2022)
Read: In campaign style speech Nikki Haley touts her role at UNÂ (December 3, 2021)