Get excited! Time for a new generation. Let’s do this! 👊 🇺🇸 https://t.co/BD5k4WY1CP
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) 1676375291000
A Sikhni born in Bamberg, South Carolina to parents (Ajit Singh Randhawa and Raj Kaur) who emigrated from Amritsar, Haley becomes the first formal challenger to Donald Trumpwith whom she has had an on-off, blow hot-blow cold political relationship. After opposing his Presidential run in 2016, she became his fangirl when he won the Republican nomination, and then went on to serve in his cabinet as the US ambassador to UN before peeling off to strengthen her own political base with an eye on 2024 even though she pledged not to run against Trump.
Apparently emboldened by her forays, she released a 3 and 1/2 minute video on Tuesday announcing her candidacy, while implicitly criticised the geriatric frontrunners (Trump and Biden) from both sides. Calling for a new generation of leadership, she also railed against the “Washington establishment,” a favorite whipping post of stateside politicians, even though she was part of the federal cabinet not so long ago.
She also talked up her foreign policy chops and her bonafides as an immigrant child who looked up to American ideals to burnish her appeal in a Republican field where she is currently a distant third (behind Trump and Florida governor Ron DeSantis), according to poll surveys.
In fact, some political pundits reckon her presidential candidacy is an opportunistic stab aimed at securing a vice-presidential ticket although stranger things have happened in US politics, including the election of outliers like Barack Obama and Donald Trump to the White House.
Unusually for a right-wing conservative, Haley also dwelt at length on her immigrant roots, which is viewed with suspicion by fringe MAGA elements.
“The railroad tracks divided the town by race. I was the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. Not Black, not White, I was different,” she says in the video in which she credits her mother, an entrepreneur, for helping her focus on similarities, not differences. She has previously spoken of how her parents settled in a small southern town, her father wearing a turban and her mother a sari, and how she was “a brown girl in a black and white world.”
Haley is married to William Michael Haleya commissioned officer in the South Carolina Army National Guard. The two share a daughter, Rena, and son, Nalin. She previously made history as the America’s first female Asian-American governor and the first Indian American to serve in the Cabinet, suggesting her political journey and success is testament to American ideals that she looks up to.
“Some look at our past as evidence that America’s founding principles are bad. 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,” she asserts, while noting that Republicans have lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections, and “that has to change” — ostensibly by expanding their appeal.
Haley also implicitly raised race and gender issues in her announcement, including her ability to handle foreign policy crises. Warning of the rising threat from China and Russia, she asserted, “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 is expected to hold her first campaign event in Charleston, South Carolina, her home state that typically has a an early primary contest and offers a pivotal moment in the party nomination race. Among her potential challengers are Tim Scott, the only black senator in US Congress whom she nominated as Senator when she was the governor.
The elephant in the room is of course Donald Trump, who has taken a benign view of Haley’s shot at the White House, welcoming her “ambitious” bid while suggesting she has no chance.
‘Doing great in poll numbers. 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,” he said in a post on his social media platform.
“But be careful. The American people get it, and don’t like what they are seeing. MAGA!!!” he warned.Watch Nikki Haley announces 2024 US presidential bid