Nikki Haley to launch GOP campaign to White House

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (NewsNation) — Republican Nikki Haley plans to formally announce her 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday, betting that her boundary-breaking career as a woman and person of color who governed in the heart of the South before representing the U.S. on the world stage can overcome entrenched support for her onetime boss, former President Donald Trump.

Haley is a first-generation American. She previously served as the first female Asian American South Carolina governor, as the first Indian American to serve in the presidential cabinet and and is a former U.N. ambassador.

Haley released a video on Tuesday declaring her candidacy. She’s likely to distinguish herself in the GOP field in part by emphasizing her biography. In the video, she spoke of growing up in a small South Carolina town as the daughter of Indian immigrants who experienced racist taunts. Despite growing up feeling “different,” Haley insisted that America is not a racist country.

Haley also addressed Republicans with some tough talk, saying in the video that the party has lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections and that should prompt a new approach. She highlighted her two successful elections as South Carolina governor, starting with the 2010 victory that made her the state’s first female and minority governor — along with the nation’s youngest, at 38.

The Wednesday event in the historic coastal city of Charleston marks the first time she’ll appear in public as a declared White House hopeful. It could also amount to a show of strength in her home state, which holds a critical early primary that influences the fate of the GOP nomination.

The announcement makes Haley the first major Republican to officially challenge Trump, but she will hardly be the last. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are among those expected to launch campaigns in the coming months. Haley’s fellow South Carolinian Sen. Tim Scott is also weighing a White House bid.

In her announcement video, the 51-year-old Haley made no direct reference to Trump, instead saying it’s “time for a new generation of leadership.”

“The Washington establishment has failed us over and over again. 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,” Haley said in her announcement video.

Meanwhile, Haley’s announcement brought several reactions.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted, saying Haley has “many successes and accomplishments,” and “performed at the highest level.”

John Bolton, the former national security advisor under Trump, said during a news interview this week that he thinks “Nikki’s really running for vice president, that’s my sense. I think she has a problem because she first said she wouldn’t run if President Trump ran.”

Haley’s campaign is a reversal from two years ago, when she said she wouldn’t challenge Trump for president in 2024. But she changed her mind in recent months, citing the country’s economic troubles, among other things.

In a statement, Trump said he 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,” Trump said. “I wish her luck!”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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