Indian-origin Republican leader Nikki Haley formally launched her 2024 presidential bid, casting herself as a younger, fresher alternative to her one-time boss and former US President Donald Trump. Haley, 51, is the two-term Governor of South Carolina and the former US Ambassador to the United Nations.
Nikki Haley: Daughter of Indian immigrants:
Haley was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa in Bamberg, South Carolina, to Indian immigrants. Her parents hailed from Punjab and worked as teachers while also running a clothing store in rural South Carolina. She was raised as a Sikh but converted to Christianity after marriage to Michael Haley in 1996.
Nikki Haley: Governor of South Carolina:
Nikki Haley was elected to the state legislature of South Carolina in 2004. In 2010, she became the first woman to become the Governor of South Carolina and only the second person of Indian descent to hold the post in any US state after Bobby Jindal (Louisiana).
Nikki Haley: US ambassador to the United Nations:
Nikki Haley further gained national recognition during her tenure as US ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump presidency. During her tenure, she was known as a vocal critic of Russia, Iran and China. She also spoke against North Korean missile testing, threatening to increase US military presence in the region to counteract any aggression from Kim Jong-un.
Nikki Haley: A Fluctuating relationship with President Donald Trump:
Nikki Haley has shared a hot-and-cold relationship with Trump. She was highly critical of him during his presidential run in 2016 before ending up as his ambassador to the UN. She left the Trump administration in 2018, and has since criticised Trump multiple times.
Her formal declaration means she will be the first contender to join the contest against her former 76-year-old boss Trump, who announced his third bid for the White House late last year.
Before entering the presidential ballot, Haley has to win the Republican Party’s presidential primary which will start in January next year. The next US presidential election is scheduled to be held on November 5, 2024.