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

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley launched the presidential bid she has teased for weeks, tweeting out a video Tuesday saying that, yes, she is indeed running for president.

Haley expected to announce GOP presidential bid

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“I’m Nikki Haley and I’m running for president,” the former South Carolina governor said in the video her campaign put out a day before her scheduled announcement speech in Charleston, S.C.

Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and U.N. ambassador, uses the video to sketch out her biography and attack President Joe Biden and the Democrats – but she says nothing about former President Donald Trump, at least not explicitly.

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At the end of the video, Haley sends a potential message to the volatile Trump by asserting she will fight back against “bullies;” she also references the fact she will likely be the only woman in the Republican presidential field.

“You should know this about me, I don’t put up with bullies,” Haley said. “And when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels.”

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Nikki Haley, other 2024 Republican candidates to challenge Trump 

In the weeks since Haley’s plans became public, Trump and his allies have stressed that she once said she would not seek the presidency if Trump did. 

Haley’s declaration makes her the first major Republican candidate to challenge Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination. She is also the first member of his cabinet to seek the presidency, having served as his U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

President Trump shakes hands with Nikki Haley, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations in the Oval office of the White House on Oct. 9, 2018 in Washington, DC.

President Trump shakes hands with Nikki Haley, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations in the Oval office of the White House on Oct. 9, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Other prominent Republicans are also considering presidential runs, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a rival of Haley’s during the Trump presidency.

Haley’s video and the Charleston speech also comes as fellow South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott mulls a possible presidential announcement. 

Haley though, has repeatedly bragged that she has “never lost a race.” 

Who is Nikki Haley? Former S.C GOP governor announces run for president in 2024

The Haley biography 

The daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley was originally born Nimrata Randhawa in Bamberg, South Carolina. 

The governor and the Confederate flag 

Haley became South Carolina’s first female and Asian American governor when she was elected in 2010; she and won reelection in 2014. Before that she spent six years in the South Carolina Legislature. 

One of her most notable acts as governor came in 2015 when Haley signed a bill ordering the removal of the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds following the killing of nine Black worshipers at the Emanuel AME Church by a white supremacist.

The Confederate flag has long been considered a sign of slavery. 

“It’s time to move the flag from the Capitol grounds,” Haley said during a June 22 news conference. 

Another act that Haley made with long term implications: She appointed Tim Scott to replace retiring Senator Jim DeMint in 2012.

Other candidates: Current and former governors offer glimpse into what could be contentious 2024 presidential election

The national stage

In 2016, she gave the Republican response to former President Barack Obama’s  State of the Union. One topic she made sure to discuss: immigration.

“We must fix our broken immigration system. That means stopping illegal immigration,” said Haley. “And it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries.”

That same year, Time named her one of the 100 most influential people. Fellow S.C. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham wrote a description on Haley for the magazine. 

In 2017, Haley served as Trump’s U.N. ambassador; in 2018 she unexpectedly stepped down amid disputes with other administration members.

During her tenure, Haley announced sanctions against Russia – a move that rankled White House aides. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow suggested Haley had “momentary confusion” over the Trump administration’s actions. 

“With all due respect, I don’t get confused,” Haley replied.  

In June 2018 Haley announced the U.S. was pulling out of the UN Human Rights Council. “I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from our human rights commitments,” Haley said. 

Why is she running?

She previously said she wouldn’t run for president if Trump decided to run. In 2020, Haley told USA TODAY it was too early to make a decision on running for the White House.

In gearing up for her presidential run, the 51-year-old Haley has stressed her relative youth in contrast to the 80-year-old Biden and the 76-year-old Trump, and called for a “new generation” of political leadership.

In posting her announcement video, Haley tweeted: “Get excited! Time for a new generation. Let’s do this!”

What does Nikki Haley stand for? 

Haley is a pro-life Republican and a supporter of Israel. She supports cracking down on illegal immigration. Haley did not support legislation in South Carolina that would have required transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender assigned at birth. 

While Haley has supported Trump in the past, she has also criticized Trump, including after the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection. Haley once said she would not support Trump’s ban on Muslim immigration. Yet she supported Trump when he blocked people from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. “It’s not a Muslim ban,” Haley said at the time. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nikki Haley announces 2024 presidential bid in first major GOP challenge to Donald Trump

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