Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley will launch her candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination on Feb. 15, squaring off against her one-time boss, former president Donald Trump, according to a source familiar with her plans.
Haley, who as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations defended American interests abroad and frequently slammed the agency’s anti-Israel bias, is expected to release details about her White House bid in an invitation to supporters later on Wednesday, according to local news outlet the Post and Courier.
The daughter of two Indian immigrants who ran a successful clothing store in a rural part of the state, Haley has gained a reputation in the Republican Party for her ability to address issues of gender and race in a more credible fashion than many of her peers. Still, Democrats and the media have frequently attacked Haley over her race, falsely accusing the former governor of downplaying her Indian ancestry to appeal to Republican voters.
Haley has pitched herself as a proponent of a strong American foreign policy, having served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Trump from 2017 to 2018. During that time, the United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, which was inked under Democratic president Barack Obama and faced criticism for enabling the Islamic regime’s terrorist activities.
During her time as ambassador, Haley frequently attacked the United Nations Human Rights Council over its entrenched bias against Israel, calling it the agency’s “greatest failure.”
“The Human Rights Council has provided cover, not condemnation, for the world’s most inhumane regimes,” Haley said in a 2018 speech. “It has been a bully pulpit for human rights violators … It has focused its attention unfairly and relentlessly on Israel. Meanwhile, it has ignored the misery inflicted by regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, Zimbabwe, and China.”
The former governor has since emerged as a vocal critic of the Biden administration’s foreign policy, telling the Washington Free Beacon in August that the president’s bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan was a “slap in the face” to every U.S. combat veteran.
In June, Haley said the West’s “total failure of deterrence” spurred Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Haley received national attention in 2015 when, as governor, she signed a bill into law removing the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol, following the murder of nine black churchgoers by white supremacist Dylann Roof.
If she were to win the nomination, Haley would be the first woman at the top of the Republican presidential ticket in history, as well as the party’s first non-white nominee.
Playing into Haley’s hands may be geography: South Carolina is historically the third state to host the Republican nominating contest, and it often plays an outsized role in the race. Haley, who governed the state from 2011 to 2017, is popular there, polls show.
While she comes into the race as an underdog—most national polls show her support in the single digits—Haley is used to running from behind, having gained a reputation in political circles for coming out on top in tough-to-win races. Haley in 2014 won reelection to the governor’s mansion by 15 points.
During her time as governor, Haley earned a reputation as a “Jobs Governor,” overseeing the creation of more than 85,000 jobs in South Carolina as she worked to cut taxes and repeal burdensome regulations. Haley also signed a bill to crack down on illegal immigration, requiring state police to check the immigration status of suspected illegal aliens.