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Nikki Haley Is Running For President. Here’s What You Need To Know.

Nikki Haley, a former ambassador to the United Nations, jumped into the 2024 presidential race on Tuesday, becoming the first Republican to officially challenge former President Donald Trump for the GOP nomination.

Haley, 51, has been out of public office and, for the most part, out of the public eye for several years. She last served in office as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations before leaving the administration at the end of 2018. She leaned on that experience in a video announcing her candidacy released on Tuesday.

“I have seen evil; in China they commit genocide; in Iran, they murder their own people for challenging the government,” Haley said. “And when a woman tells you about watching soldiers throw her baby into a fire, it puts things into perspective. Even on our worst day, we are blessed to live in America.”

She stated a need for a “new generation of leadership,” a possible swipe at two of the leading contenders for president in 2024: Trump, who is 76, and President Joe Biden, who is 80.

Haley’s decision to run for president is a reversal of a statement she made in 2021.

“I would not run if President Trump ran, and I would talk to him about it,” she told a reporter at the time about her future presidential ambitions.

She spoke with Trump before announcing her presidential run and, according to Trump, the former president supported her bid. “You should do it,” Trump told her.

Haley, born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa, is the daughter of Indian immigrants and was raised in the Sikh faith. She converted to Christianity after marrying Michael Haley in 1996. After graduating from Clemson University, she worked for her family’s dress and fashion business before launching a bid for South Carolina’s legislature in 2004.

Haley’s career in politics began in 2005 in South Carolina’s House of Representatives. She served three terms before running for governor in 2010, picking up some high-profile endorsements, including from former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, that helped her to victory in the GOP primary and, later, in the governor’s race. At 38 years-old, Haley became the youngest governor in the U.S.

Riding a wave of Tea Party support into office, Haley signed new laws that cracked down on illegal immigration and moved South Carolina off Common Core education standards. South Carolinians responded by re-electing Haley to a second term in office in 2014, more than tripling her margin of victory to 14.6 points after her 4.5-point victory in 2010.

On June 17, 2015, a gunman attacked congregants at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, killing nine. The attack took place months into Haley’s second term, and spurred the governor to push for removing the Confederate Flag from the grounds of the South Carolina State House. Haley signed legislation permanently furling the flag on July 9 after a 15-hour debate in the legislature the night before.

“The Confederate flag is coming off the grounds of the South Carolina State House,” Haley said. “Twenty-two days ago, I didn’t know that I would ever be able to say this again, but today, I am very proud to say that it is a great day in South Carolina,” referencing a tagline for her administration.

In 2016, Haley stood against a Republican-backed bill that would have blocked people from using a bathroom that differed from their biological gender. Haley helped kill the bill that brought her state under fire from progressive activists and lawmakers who said the legislation was anti-trans.

“I don’t believe it’s necessary,” Haley said at the time. “When I look at South Carolina, we look at our situations, we’re not hearing of anybody’s religious liberties that are being violated, and we’re again not hearing any citizens that feel like they’re being violated in terms of freedoms.”

Haley left South Carolina for New York in 2017 after then-President Trump tapped her to serve as his ambassador to the United Nations.

During her time at the U.N., Haley earned a reputation as a forceful advocate for U.S. interests while denouncing some of the globe’s most impactful players and human rights abusers in China, Russia, and Iran. Her uncompromising language belied an acute political awareness, which she displayed by bringing Russia and China into an international sanctions agreement against North Korea in 2017.

Haley’s role at the U.N. made her “something of a star” in the Trump administration, according to The New York Times. Her success made her retirement announcement in October 2018 that much more surprising. Trump and Haley said they had agreed on her departure months in advance, though kept it a secret.

Haley said she was leaving the administration because of fatigue. Haley spent two years as U.N. ambassador after her time as South Carolina’s governor, and the ambassador wanted to take a break from her rigorous schedule, she said.

Much of her time after leaving office was spent heading up her conservative advocacy group Stand For America, and a political action committee under the same name. The organizations have served as a repository for some of her most trusted advisers from her political career.

Though out of office, she did not stay out of the public eye. She sat for several interviews with POLITICO, during which she said Trump could never run for office again after the way his term ended and the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“I don’t think he’s going to be in the picture,” she said. “I don’t think he can. He’s fallen so far.”

 On the January 6 riot, she offered rare criticism of her former boss.

“We need to acknowledge he let us down,” she said of Trump. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Nikki Haley Is Running For President. Here’s What You Need To Know.