Nikki Haley officially announced she is running for President in 2024 and has become Donald Trump’s first major challenger in the Republican primary.
The mother-of-two and former Ambassador to the United Nations under Trump released a video on Tuesday morning saying: ‘It’s time for a new generation of leadership. I’m Nikki Haley, and I’m running for president.’
The former South Carolina governor, 51, discussed growing up in a racially-segregated town and says: ‘I was the proud daughter of Indian immigrants — not black, not white. I was different.’
Haley, who will hold her first campaign event in Charleston on Wednesday, rejects suggestions America is inherently ‘wrong’ or ‘racist’ because of its history.
‘Some look at our past as evidence that America’s founding principles are bad,’ Haley noted. ‘They say the promise of freedom is just made up. Some think our ideas are not just wrong, but racist and evil. Nothing could be further from the truth.’
Haley enters the race as an underdog – with Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis leading in Republican polls – but can now start garnering support for the battle for the Oval Office.
Nikki Haley officially announced in a video posted Tuesday morning that she is running for president in 2024
Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, is married to William Michael Haley (center left), who is a commissioned officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard. The two share a daughter, Rena (left), and son, Nalin (right)
If she manages an upset, she will be the first Asian-American to lead the GOP White House ticket.
Trump’s campaign responded with a statement Tuesday claiming Haley is ‘just another career politician.’
‘She started out as a Never Trumper before resigning to serve in the Trump admin,’ Taylor Budowich, head of Make America Great Again Inc., said in a statement. ‘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,’ he concluded.
Other Republicans seem more pleased with her entrance into the field.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who stood beside Trump during remarks at a campaign stop in the state earlier this month, told DailyMail.com that she will be a ‘good candidate’
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said during his press conference Tuesday that the field is already proving that it will be highly competitive.
”Well, what I think we’re gonna have is a vigorous primary with a number of candidates making their case and the American people, those who are registered Republicans who are going to participate in these primaries, are going to decide who they want to nominate,’ McConnell said, remaining largely diplomatic, as always.
‘And I think it’s going to be very, very competitive,’ the Kentucky senator added. ‘We’ll hope for the best and obviously I’m gonna support whoever they nominate.’
By announcing her candidacy so early, Haley has a crack at building support early in some states key to clinching a nomination, like Iowa, New Hampshire and her home state of South Carolina – all early primary contest states.
While no other major candidates have officially launched their 2024 campaigns, there are dozens that have either spoken on their intent and others rumored to be considering a bid.
Haley could even see challenges from within her own state as South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, who is the only black Republican in the upper chamber, considers a bid of his own.
DeSantis was asked about Haley’s announcement during his press conference on Tuesday morning.
‘Nikki Haley announced her presidential run today, do you plan on following suit?’ a reporter asked the Florida governor, who is widely considered the best chance to beat Trump.
‘Wouldn’t you like to know?’ the governor quipped with a laugh before moving onto the next question.
In her video, Haley slammed Biden’s leadership as ‘abysmal,’ adding: ‘Washington establishment has failed us over and over and over again.
‘Republicans have lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections. That has to change.’
And she warned of the rising threat from China and Russia, saying: ‘They all think we can be bullied, kicked. 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, the daughter of Indian immigrants, grew up in Bamberg, South Carolina, and became the first woman and person of Asian heritage to serve as governor of the state
Haley was the first Indian American member of a presidential cabinet, serving in Trump’s administration as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. for nearly two years. Pictured: Haley and Trump shake hands after the ex-president accepted her resignation in October 2018, she stepped down from her post two months later
Just moments after Haley released the video announcing her candidacy, Trump posted to his Truth Social account bragging about beating Republicans and President Joe Biden in recent polling on the 2024 presidential election.
He claimed that Biden and RINOs – or Republicans in Name Only – are trying to ‘damage’ him through legal battles so he doesn’t win a second term in the White House, but warned it would not work.
‘Doing great in poll numbers,’ Trump lauded in his Truth post. ‘Leading all Republicans by a lot, also leading Biden by a very wide margin, which means that our weaponized Injustice Department, local D.A.’s, and Attorney Generals, will step up their illegal and unprecedented attacks in order to disparage me with false ‘bull….’ and statements in the hope that I will be damaged enough to allow a RINO, or Biden, to ‘slip through the cracks.’
‘But be careful,’ he warned, ‘the American people get it, and don’t like what they are seeing. MAGA!!!’
Haley was in Trump’s administration as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations for nearly two years – from January 2017 until December 2018.
A poll from Yahoo News/YouGov last week shows that Haley is in a distant third place when thrown into a hypothetical primary contest with Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – who has not announced a bid but is highly popular among GOP voters.
The former president would win in a three-way election with 38 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, DeSantis would earn 35 percent and Haley would earn only 11 percent.
While not earning enough to win, Haley’s consideration in the race could serve as a spoiler for DeSantis against Trump, according to the poll.
The Democratic National Committee immediately pounced on Haley’s announcement, claiming it is proof that the Republican primary is going to get ‘messy,’
‘Nikki Haley served in Donald Trump’s administration, has embraced the most extreme elements of the MAGA agenda and couldn’t even identify a single policy difference between herself and Trump,’ DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison wrote in a statement following the video release.
‘Haley’s entrance officially kicks off a messy 2024 primary race for the MAGA base that has long been brewing,’ he added.
‘Everyone get your popcorn.’