(CN) — Vying for the 2024 Republican nomination, ex-Trump Cabinet official and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley announced Tuesday that she will run for president.
Haley had previously said she wouldn’t challenge Donald Trump, who already announced his 2024 campaign in November, but in a video announcement Tuesday she explained her decision to run on the U.S. economy and a need for generational change. Without mentioning her former White House boss by name, Haley made several thinly veiled references to him, at one point sharing her concerns that “Republicans have lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections.”
“The Washington establishment has failed us over, and 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,” said Haley, who at 51 is a quarter-century younger than the 76-year-old Trump.
Haley spoke about her plans to take a firm stance against countries like China and Russia on the global stage.
“You should know this about me. I don’t put up with bullies. And when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels,” Haley said.
Haley has been in politics for almost two decades, beginning with her ousting of the longest-serving member of the South Carolina House in 2004. After three terms in that role, at 38 years old, she was the successful underdog in the 2010 race to become the state’s first female and minority governor.
Tragedy thrust Haley into the national spotlight in 2015 when a 21-year-old white supremacist shot up a historically black church in Charleston, killing nine people. The Republican governor said the murders in the AME church were a hate crime and that the gunman should face the death penalty. Because the gunman had taken numerous pictures with the confederate flag, Haley then advocated for a state law to remove the flag from statehouse grounds. The bill passed less than a month after the shooting.
In the 2016 Republican primaries, Haley took her time before joining Trump's corner, first supporting Florida Senator Marco Rubio and then Texas Senator Ted Cruz. After narrowly defeating Hillary Clinton, Trump picked Haley to be his U.N. ambassador, marking the first time an Indian American served in a presidential Cabinet.
Haley spoke Tuesday about these roots, identifying herself as the “proud daughter of Indian immigrants," and how she has been taught since childhood to focus on the similarities people share rather than the differences.
The South Carolina native has been noted for her unique approach to navigating the Republican Trump era, having both worked for the president and spoken out against him, most notably about his reluctance to condemn white supremacists and the KKK.
Since leaving the Trump White House in 2019, Haley has served on the board of the aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing Co., created a speaking circuit for herself, and written two books, including a memoir.
If elected, she would be the first U.S. president of Indian descent as well as the first female president.
In addition to Haley, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are among Republican names expected to launch 2024 nomination runs in the next few months.
President Joe Biden, 80, has yet to indicate formally if he will seek reelection in 2024.
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