Nikki Haley announces she’s running for president; Trump receives first major GOP challenge

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Former South Carolina Gov. and UN ambassador Nikki Haley has officially announced her bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. On Tuesday, February 14, a day before her scheduled announcement speech in Charleston, SC, Haley tweeted a video stating, “I’m Nikki Haley and I’m running for president.” In the video, she shares her biography and takes aim at President Joe Biden and the Democrats but makes no explicit mention of former President Donald Trump.

Haley, who is the daughter of Indian immigrants and was originally born Nimrata Randhawa in Bamberg, South Carolina, served as the first female and Asian American governor of South Carolina from 2010 to 2018. One of Haley’s most notable acts as governor was signing a bill ordering the removal of the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds after a white supremacist killed nine Black worshipers at the Emanuel AME Church. She also appointed Tim Scott to replace retiring Senator Jim DeMint in 2012.

Haley’s video and speech in Charleston come as other prominent Republicans, including former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are considering presidential runs. However, Haley’s announcement makes her the first major Republican candidate to challenge Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination. She is also the first member of Trump’s cabinet to seek the presidency, having previously served as his US ambassador to the United Nations.

Although Haley has supported Trump in the past, including his decision to block people from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, she has also criticized him, particularly after the January 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. During her tenure as UN ambassador, Haley announced sanctions against Russia, which drew criticism from White House aides. She is also known as a pro-life Republican and a supporter of Israel. Yet she opposed a South Carolinian legislation that would have required transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to their birth-assigned gender.

In her video, Haley sends a potential message to Trump by asserting that she will fight back against “bullies,” adding, “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.” She also references the fact that she will likely be the only woman in the Republican presidential field. It remains to be seen how her campaign will fare in the crowded and competitive race for the Republican nomination.

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