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Nikki Haley: Truly Just Another Career Politician?

Nikki Haley in the Oval Office. Image Credit: White House.
Nikki Haley in the Oval Office. Image Credit: White House.

Donald Trump vs. Nikki Haley: The 2024 Republican contest has its first challenger to former President Donald Trump, and it’s someone very familiar to the president, someone who served in his administration, in fact. 

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Here Comes Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley, who served as the governor of South Carolina before she was appointed ambassador to the United Nations by Trump, officially got into the presidential race on Tuesday. 

In a video she posted to Twitter on Tuesday, Nikki Haley argued for new leadership in the party and in Washington. 

“Republicans have lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections. That has to change,” Haley said in the launch video, as reported by Politico. “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.”

Also in the video, Haley emphasized her background, describing herself as the “proud daughter of Indian immigrants” and thanked her parents for instilling a love of America. She also discovered the Charleston church shooting, which took place when she was governor.

However, she did not emphasize her decision in the days afterward to take down the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina’s capitol building. 

Haley did not mention Donald Trump in the announcement video. She did state “I don’t put up with bullies- and when you kick back, it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels.” However, this part seemed more directed at Russia, China, and “the socialist left” than at Trump. 

The announcement came despite Haley having declared in 2021 that she would not run in 2024 if Trump ran too. 

“It’s bigger than one person. And when you’re looking at the future of America, I think it’s time for new generational change,” Haley said on Fox News earlier this year, of that pledge. “I don’t think you need to be 80 years old to go be a leader in D.C.”

What was the reaction from Team Trump to Haley’s announcement? Trump did not mention Haley’s announcement on Truth Social on Tuesday. But a top pro-Trump super PAC did comment on the arrival in the race of an additional candidate. 

Former Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich, now an executive with the organization known as MAGA Inc., issued a statement Tuesday. 

“Nikki Haley is just another career politician,” Budowich said, as reported by Fox News. “She started out as a Never Trumper before resigning to serve in the Trump admin. She then resigned early to go rake in money on corporate boards,” Budowich wrote. “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.”

With Haley and Trump, a big question will be whether Trump sees her getting into the race as a betrayal or if Haley will be considered for the vice presidency in the event of a Trump win. 

Nikki Haley: Truly Just Another Career Politician? 

CNN published an op-ed on Tuesday by longtime South Carolina journalist Isaac Bailey, describing Nikki Haley as a “poor 2024 GOP candidate.” 

“As governor of South Carolina, she never messed up like [scandal-plagued former Gov. Mark Sanford], who also had strong presidential prospects before his escapades,” Bailey wrote. “But she messed up when she decided to embrace Donald Trump – rather than keeping him at arm’s length – providing further proof that even the most talented Republicans were willing to bend the knee to the former president.”

Bailey did praise Haley’s political skill — “you don’t get elected twice as governor of Deep South, Bible Belt South Carolina as a woman with dark skin and a Sikh background by happenstance” — but concluded that during her time as governor, “her priority was not always the people of South Carolina, but her own political aspirations.”

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BONUS: Donald Trump Looks At His End 

BONUS: Kamala Harris Should Quit

Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.