February 21. 2024. 8:25

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Nikki Haley announces run for US president in 2024

Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and Donald Trump’s one-time ambassador to the UN, has become the first Republican to challenge the former president for the party’s nomination for president in 2024.

Ms Haley announced her candidacy for president in a video posted on social media platforms on Tuesday. In the three-minute video, Ms Haley (51) did not mention Mr Trump by name, but said it was “time for a new generation of leadership to rediscover fiscal responsibility, secure our border, and strengthen our country, our pride and our purpose”.

“Republicans have lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections. That has to change,” she said.

Ms Haley’s team said she would deliver an “announcement speech” in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday. She is expected to then hit the campaign trail with town-hall style meetings with voters in New Hampshire and Iowa, two crucial early-voting states.

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Ms Haley’s campaign video emphasised her small-town upbringing as the daughter of Indian immigrants in Bamberg, South Carolina, and her experience as the state’s first female governor and as Mr Trump’s ambassador to the UN. She warned that China and Russia were “on the march” and “think we can be bullied”.

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

Republican elected officials and deep-pocketed donors have increasingly called for the party to find a new standard-bearer after it underperformed expectations and several of Mr Trump’s handpicked candidates came up short in last November’s midterm elections.

But Ms Haley faces an uphill battle if she is going to gain traction in what will probably be a crowded field of competitors, and at a time when Mr Trump still commands the support of a plurality of the Republican party’s base of grassroots voters.

A poll conducted last month by North Star Opinion Research, a Republican polling company, found the majority of likely Republican primary and caucus voters were ready to move on from Mr Trump, believing either he cannot win a general election or that he is too focused on the past rather than the future.

The survey found that in a hypothetical 10-way ballot, Florida governor Ron DeSantis led with 39 per cent of the vote, followed by Mr Trump on 28 per cent, former vice-president Mike Pence on 9 per cent, and Ms Haley and former congresswoman Liz Cheney on 4 per cent each.

Whit Ayres, the veteran Republican pollster and strategist who conducted the poll, said it was “not at all unusual for people to start way back in the pack” and argued that with a year left to go until the Iowa caucuses, the race was “wide open” for Ms Haley or another challenger to gain ground.– Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023