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Nikki Haley announces 2024 presidential bid in first GOP challenge to Trump

Nikki Haley
via Nikki Haley

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    The former governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley has announced her candidacy for president, becoming the first Republican to challenge former President Donald Trump for the 2024 GOP primary nomination.

    Haley delivered the news in a three-and-a-half minute Twitter video released on Tuesday morning. 

    The 51-year-old previously served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under the Trump administration. Although she previously said she would not challenge Trump for the White House in 2024, Haley changed her mind, citing the country’s economic troubles and need for “generational change.”

    “The Washington establishment has failed us over and over and over again,” she says in the video. “It’s time for a new generation of leadership to rediscover fiscal responsibility, secure our border and strengthen our country, our pride and our purpose.”

    In a statement on Tuesday, Trump shared his support for Haley’s decision and wished her luck. 

    “Even though Nikki Haley said, ‘I would never run against my President, he was a great President, the best President in my lifetime,’ I told her she should follow her heart and do what she wants to do. I wish her luck!” Trump said.

    If Haley wins in the primary, she would become the first woman and the first Asian American nominated by the Republican Party for president.

    Haley was born to Indian immigrants Ajit Singh Randhawa and Raj Kaur Randhawa.

    Her family moved to South Carolina when her father took a teaching job at a historically Black college. Although she was raised in the Sikh faith, Haley converted to Christianity after she married Michael Haley in 1996.

    Haley worked for her family’s dress boutique as a bookkeeper before her political career began in 2004 after she was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives.

    She was first elected governor in 2010, becoming South Carolina’s first female and minority governor at age 38. 

    Haley opens her announcement video by speaking about her upbringing:

    The railroad tracks divided the town by race. I was the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. Not Black, not white. I was different. But my mom would always say your job is not to focus on the differences but the similarities. And my parents reminded me and my siblings every day how blessed we were to live in America.

    Although a staunch Republican, Haley has appealed to moderates with her stances on certain policies. 

    Haley has supported Trump in the past but has also criticized him, including after the January 2021 Capitol insurrection

    The pro-life former governor also supports the crackdown on illegal immigration. She reportedly supported Trump when he barred people from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. despite previous claims that she would not support the former president’s ban on Muslim immigration. 

    In South Carolina, Haley did not support legislation to require transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender assigned at birth. 

    Closing out her announcement video, Haley calls out the left, China and Russia, declaring them “bullies”:

    Some people look at America and see vulnerability. The socialist left sees an opportunity to rewrite history. China and Russia are on the march. They all think we can be bullied, kicked around. 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.

    Other Republicans who are expected to launch 2024 campaigns in the coming months include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.

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