By Tom Ozimek
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Tuesday issued a video statement in which she officially threw her hat in the ring for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, becoming the first major challenger to former President Donald Trump.
“I’m Nikki Haley and I’m running for president,” Haley said in the video, which she shared on social media and on her newly launched campaign page.
Haley, who served as Trump’s U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, plans to lay out her campaign plans in a speech in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday.
Tough on China
She highlighted her foreign policy experience in the video, warning of threats to America’s pre-eminent status in the international domain.
“China and Russia are on the march. They all think we can be bullied, kicked. 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,” she said.
“In China, they commit genocide,” she said, while in Iran “they murder their own people for challenging the government.”
“It puts things into perspective,” she continued. “Even on our worst day, we are blessed to live in America.”
Haley in May 2022 said that the controversial U.N. Human Rights Council must investigate the Chinese “genocide” of minorities, otherwise a planned visit by the U.N. Human Rights commissioner to the country would be just “one more Chinese publicity stunt.”
The Chinese regime has been accused of committing atrocities in Xinjiang.
After U.N. high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet visited Xinjiang, Haley called the visit a “total communist propaganda victory lap and an insult to every victim of genocide.”
Pushback Against Leftist Revisionism
Domestically, Haley said she’d push back against efforts by the “socialist left” to “rewrite” America’s history, presumably referring to the progressive campaign to portray the founding of the United States as steeped in racism rather than in opposition to slavery and the protection of individual liberties.
Haley noted that Republicans lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections and that this “has to change.”
“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,” Haley said, outlining her policy priorities.
With the announcement, Haley has become the first direct challenger to Trump in a Republican field that is expected to grow going forward.
Other high-profile Republicans said to be considering a 2024 run include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
‘Trump Can’t Trust Her’
Her announcement was met with a critical response by Sebastian Gorka, a Trump ally and former Deputy Assistant to the president.
“In April 2021 @NikkiHaley told reporters she would never run against President Trump, but would support her former boss in his campaign for re-election. 5 minutes ago she announced her campaign for the Presidency. President Trump can’t trust her. Can you?” he said in a post on Twitter.
In November, Haley said she was mulling the launch of a 2024 presidential bid.
“A lot of people have asked if I’m going to run for president now that the midterms are over, I’ll look at it in a serious way and I’ll have more to say soon,” Haley said during an appearance at a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting.
Back in 2021, she pledged not to run against Trump.
“I would not run if President Trump ran,” Haley said at the time.
Trump launched his 2024 bid for reelection on Nov. 15, 2022.
“In order to make America great and glorious again I am tonight announcing my candidacy for President of the United States,” Trump said in a speech at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
The former president stressed that this won’t be his campaign but “our campaign,” saying that the only force “strong enough to defeat the massive corruption we are up against is you—the American people.
“Together we will be taking on the most corrupt forces and entrenched interests imaginable. Our country is in a horrible state. We’re in great trouble.”
As rumors mounted that Haley was going to enter the presidential race, she said in January that: “If I run, I’m running against Joe Biden. That’s what I’m focused on, because we can’t have a second term of Joe Biden.”
In her video on Tuesday, Haley took aim at Biden’s policies.
“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. It’s time for a new generation of leadership,” she said.