Republican Nikki Haley announces 2024 presidential bid in challenge to Trump

Trump and Nikki Haley. Credit: AP

Nikki Haley has announced that she will be running against her former boss Donald Trump for the US presidency after previously stating she wouldn't.

The former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador announced her candidacy for the 2024 Republican nomination on Twitter.

Having previously stated she wouldn't run against the 76-year-old, she now says she wouldn't mind facing down her former boss due to the country's need for a "generational change".

“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.

“I'm Nikki Haley, and I'm running for president.”

The 51-year-old is the first in a long line of Republicans who are expected to launch 2024 campaigns in the coming months.

Among them are Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.

President Joe Biden has said he intends to seek re-election in 2024, stalling any jostling for the Democratic nomination.

If elected, Haley would be the nation’s first female president and the first US president of Indian descent.

The daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley grew up enduring racist taunts in a small South Carolina town and has long referenced that impact on her personal and political arc.

In the three-and-a-half minute video, Haley referenced that past, saying she grew up “not Black, not white — I was different".

Donald Trump and Nikki Haley will run against one another for the Republican nomination. Credit: AP

Haley never mentions Trump by name in the video, instead states “the Washington establishment has failed us over and over and over again".

Haley leans into a call for “a new generation of leadership,” which has become the refrain of her messaging leading up to the launch.

In an open-ended question asking Republicans to choose who they want to lead their party, a majority of Republicans didn't choose either Trump or DeSantis, considered the former president's top rival. But they also didn't have a clear alternative in mind.

In a statement, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said Haley was “just another career politician”.

“She started out as a Never Trumper before resigning to serve in the Trump admin,” he said.

"She then resigned early to go rake in money on corporate boards. Now, she’s telling us she represents a ‘new generation.’ Sure just looks like more of the same, a career politician whose only fulfilled commitment is to herself.”

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In the 2016 presidential primary, Haley was an early supporter of Florida Senator Marco Rubio, later shifting to Texas Senator Ted Cruz. She ultimately said she would back the party’s nominee.

Shortly after Trump’s victory, he tapped Haley to be his UN ambassador.

She was later confirmed to the Senate, becoming the first Indian American in a presidential Cabinet.

During her nearly two-year tenure, Haley feuded at times with other administration officials while bolstering her own public persona.

Her departure from the job later that year fuelled speculation that she would challenge Trump in 2020 or replace Pence on the ticket. She did neither.

After the January 6, 2021 insurrection, Haley initially cast doubts on Trump’s political future but said she wouldn’t challenge him in 2024.

She later shifted course, citing inflation, crime, drugs and a “foreign policy in disarray” among her reasons for considering a White House campaign.

During his South Carolina stop last month, Trump told WIS-TV that Haley had called to seek his opinion on running for president. Trump pointed out her earlier pledge not to run against him but said he made no attempt to stop her.

“She said she would never run against me because I was the greatest president, but people change their opinions, and they change what’s in their hearts,” Trump said. “So I said, ‘If your heart wants to do it, you have to go do it.’”

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