Nikki Haley, Ex-Governor and Diplomat, Launches 2024 Presidential Run

The former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador under President Trump is vying to become the Republican presidential nominee in the upcoming election cycle

Nikki Haley has officially declared her candidacy for president, announcing her 2024 run on social media Tuesday morning with a promise to prioritize fiscal responsibility, border security and foreign relations.

Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, has been teasing a possible run for months, telling reporters at a 2022 fundraiser in Iowa she would run "if there's a place for me."

"What I've always said is, I love this country," she said, the Des Moines Register reported last year. "I had the pleasure of serving the state that raised me and defending the country I love so much. And if it looks like there's a place for me next year, I've never lost a race. I'm not going to start now. I'll put 1,000 percent in and I'll finish it."

Haley's announcement pits her directly against former President Donald Trump, who announced his own 2024 run back in November.

Haley served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Trump from January 2017 until her resignation in December 2018.

Since leaving his administration, Haley has both embraced and pushed back against Trump, at one point calling his rhetoric "so unnecessary" and at another saying he "tells the world what it needs to hear."

US President Donald Trump meets with Nikki Haley, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations in the Oval office of the White House on October 9, 2018 in Washington, DC.

In an interview with Today in 2018, Haley said she would often use Trump's unpredictability to her advantage while serving a ambassador, saying: "I was trying to get the job done, and I got the job done by being truthful, but also by letting him be unpredictable and not showing our cards."

She has also previously said she wouldn't run for president in 2024 if Trump sought another term, saying in a 2021 press conference: "I would not run if President Trump ran, and I would talk to him about it. That's something that we'll have a conversation about at some point if that decision is something that has to be made."

Haley's announcement video begins with a story of her parents' immigration and their longstanding belief in unity, before launching into a message against the "socialist Left" and those who accuse Republicans of racism. Through clips and images she demonizes Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and The 1619 Project, which highlights the consequences of slavery and historical contributions of Black Americans.

Former South Carolina Republican Governor Nikki Haley speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 19, 2022.
Nikki Haley. WADE VANDERVORT/AFP via Getty

"Some look at our past as evidence that America's founding principles are bad. They say the promise of freedom is just made up. Some think our ideas are not just wrong, but racist and evil," Haley says. "Nothing could be further from the truth."

She then touts her time as U.N. ambassador, arguing that far worse evil happens overseas. "In China, they commit genocide; in Iran, they murder their own people for challenging the government; and when a woman tells you about watching soldiers throw her baby into a fire, it puts things into perspective," she says in the video. "Even on our worst day, we are blessed to live in America."

Haley also makes a case for reviving the Republican Party: That lawmakers must go back to their old ways of turning "away from fear, toward God."

Referencing China, Russia and the Democratic Party, she concludes three-and-a-half minute video with, "They all think we can be bullied, kicked around. 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."

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a rally for Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker in Hiram, Georgia on November 6th, 2022.
Nikki Haley speaks at a rally for Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker in Nov. 2022. Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty

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Haley, who was born to two Indian-American immigrants, graduated from Clemson University with a degree in accounting and briefly worked in finances before entering government.

She was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2004 and served as the state's governor from 2011 to 2017, when she was appointed to her role in the Trump administration.

After leaving her post as U.N. ambassador, Haley went on to serve on the board of directors for airline giant Boeing before she resigned from the lucrative position in 2020 because of her disagreements over airline bailouts amid the pandemic, according to NPR.

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