Former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced Tuesday she is running for president in 2024, challenging fellow Republican candidate Donald Trump by proposing a “new generation” of leadership in Washington.
“I’m Nikki Haley and I’m running for president,” the 51-year-old former governor of South Carolina and the child of Indian immigrants said in a video statement.
“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,” she said in the video shot in Bamberg, the South Carolina town of her birth.
Casting herself as a younger, fresher alternative to the 76-year-old former president Trump, Haley had been hinting at a possible run for weeks and teasing a “big announcement” on February 15.
In the end, she made her presidential aims official a day early, on Valentine’s Day.
Haley is positioning herself as a changemaker who can reinvigorate a party and country she says have lost their way in recent years, and she played up her personal background in her video as a way to unite a nation strained by racial tensions.
“I was the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. Not black, not white. I was different,” she said in the clip.
“But my mom would always say, ‘Your job is not to focus on the differences, but the similarities.'”
“Some look at our past as evidence that America’s founding principles are bad,” she went on.
“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.”
Haley is unlikely to be the last Republican to throw their hat in the ring.
Some Washington watchers speculated that her announcement might prompt a stampede from rivals such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Trump’s vice president Mike Pence.
Haley also took a mild swipe at the current president — who has not formally announced his re-election campaign but is expected to run again — saying “Joe Biden’s record is abysmal.”
“But that shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Washington establishment has failed us over and over and over again.”