Nikki Haley on Trumpworld: Key moments that led to the former governor’s 2024 candidacy

Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley had a unique journey from the governor’s mansion in Columbia to the 2024 primary field, which she entered Tuesday as only the second prominent Republican, behind Donald Trump, in the field.

Once beloved by the moderate wing of the Republican Party and now painted with the same “sell out” label those same NeverTrumpers placed on Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and others, the country’s second most prominent Indian-American politician (behind VP Kamala Harris ) hopes that the Republican establishment’s desire to move away from Trumpism will be the wind in their sails that will carry their campaign to the nomination.

On Tuesday, she officially joined the race, albeit in a pre-recorded message. Refusing to host a glitzy launch party like the one Donald Trump attempted last year, Haley opted for a silent video plea for Republicans to embrace a new generation of leaders: code words in Washington for an anti-incumbency trend.

But as many analysts and pundits have pointed out in the hours and days since it became clear that an announcement was imminent, it’s unclear where Ms. Haley goes from here. She continues to poll in the single digits in every credible poll, all including other GOP rivals such as Trump and Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor who also believes he has national ambitions.

As a potential 2024 rival, John Bolton, has pointed out, Haley’s real achievable goal may be the vice presidency, a position that would likely be open to Trump or any anti-Trump insurgent alternative that could theoretically dethrone him.

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at how Nikki Haley got here, and how the fine line she drew between the party’s pro and anti-Trump wings could leave her with her head held high in the Iowa caucuses next year. . :

January 2016 to November 2016: Haley joins the doomed anti-Trump crusade

At the time, one of the most respected Republican governors in the country, Nikki Haley was expected to be a key player in the 2016 Republican nomination race. racist massacre, Haley was seen by many before the launch of Donald Trump’s campaign as a would-be kingmaker. She joined Marco Rubio’s campaign, denouncing Trump and vowing not to “stop fighting” against the man who came from nowhere to achieve total dominance of his party.

Instead, like every other Republican, she saw her chosen champion being beaten by Trump as a mere nuisance. In the general election, she was an afterthought, refusing to even take a firm stand one way or another on the shocking Go to Hollywood Uncovered tape revealing Mr. Trump making vile and sexist remarks about women.

November 2016: If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

Days after Trump won the 2016 election, he shocked the media yet again by selecting Haley, his critic, for the powerful role of UN ambassador.

Even more surprising at the time (though less so now, given the GOP’s total capitulation to Trump), she agreed. With a year left in her term as governor of South Carolina, Haley announced her resignation and plans to join the Trump administration. Anti-Trump conservatives were disgusted, while Trump supporters saw the moment as yet another example of Trump’s Republican rivals kneeling in defeat.

March 2017: Haley takes first swipe at new boss

After joining Trumpworld, Haley spent two years in government before her eventual resignation. Within weeks of being sworn in, however, she was back in the headlines, criticizing her then-boss, with whom she disagreed over his plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States. Mrs. Haley calls the plan “un-American”.

December 2017: Another jab from Haley

Speaking to reporters for the first time about the Go to Hollywood On a tape she ignored in 2016, Haley breaks with the White House and says women who accused her boss of sexual misconduct must be heard.

“Women who accuse someone should be heard. They must be heard and they must be addressed, and I think we heard them before the election,” she said. “I think any woman who has felt violated or mistreated in any way has every right to speak up.”

She added that Americans can decide for themselves whether to believe Trump or not.

December 2018: Haley steps down

In late 2018, Haley announced that she would be stepping down as UN Ambassador after two years in the role, with her resignation taking effect at the end of the year.

This came after Trump’s team faced aggressive media scrutiny, and at the time, Haley defended the administration’s record, calling Trump a “friend.”

January 6, 2021

As Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to undermine US lawmakers and prevent certification of the 2020 election results, Haley was one of many Republicans who denounced the violence and criticized the president.

“We need to acknowledge that he let us down. He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have taken him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that happen again,” she said at the time.

February 2021: Haley comes crawling back

A month after the Jan. 6 attack on Congress, Nikki Haley was already looking for a way back into Trumpworld.

News reports indicated that she had tried and failed to arrange a meeting with her former boss in Mar-a-Lago. And in one Wall Street Journal op-ed, Mrs. Haley seemed to show contrition for turning her back on Mr. Trump after his supporters attacked the US seat of government.

“Most of Mr. Trump were excellent and made America stronger, safer and more prosperous. Many of his actions since the election were wrong and will be judged harshly by history… I will gladly defend most of Trump’s record and his determination to shake up the corrupt status quo in Washington,” she wrote at the time.

April 2021: Haley makes her plans official…

Just a few more months later, Ms. Haley made it official, declaring that she would support Donald Trump for president in 2024 and stating that she would not run if her old boss ran again. Oops.

July 2022: Maybe she will run?

Just a year after ruling out running for office if Trump runs again, Haley publicly hinted that she would, in fact, be a challenger for the 2024 nomination.

As per media reports and rumors circulating about Trump’s imminent plans to announce his candidacy, Haley traveled to the initial state of Iowa and dropped several hints about his national ambitions.

Speaking about the 2015 nuclear deal signed between the US and Iran at the event, she joked: “If this president signs any kind of (Iran’s nuclear) deal, I will make a promise: the next president will destroy him on his first day on the job. .”

February 14, 2023: Haley enters the race

Finally, we come to the culmination of at least the last six years of Haley’s professional career: the launch of her candidacy for president.

In a short announcement video, Ms. Haley doesn’t mention her former boss, despite him being the only other candidate — and frontrunner — currently seeking the GOP nomination.

Instead, she calls for a new generation of leaders, while slyly observing that her party, including Donald Trump, has lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections.

Where did Mrs. Haley goes from here is uncertain. Her campaign could very well end before the 2024 Iowa caucus, or she could find some spark that ignites a passion in the Republican Party base and begins an upward trajectory that arrives here somewhere in a new Republican administration.

One thing remains likely, however: no matter what Donald Trump says or does, Haley’s relationship with her former boss will be defined as much by necessity as it is by unpredictability.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *