Nikki Haley announces 2024 US presidential bid


Former American ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday kicked off her campaign for the 2024 Republican U.S. presidential nomination, a tough challenge in a race in which a new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows her former boss Donald Trump holding a strong lead.

"I'm Nikki Haley and I'm running for president," Haley said in a video that her team sent out by email as she joined Trump as the only announced 2024 candidates.

Haley, a former South Carolina governor who served as the U.N. ambassador under Trump from 2017 to 2018, is set to lay out her campaign plans in a speech on Wednesday in Charleston, South Carolina.

The daughter of two Indian immigrants who ran a successful clothing store in a rural part of South Carolina, Haley, 51, has gained a reputation in the Republican Party as a solid conservative who has the ability to address issues of gender and race in a more credible fashion than many of her peers.

The Republican field is expected to grow in the coming weeks and months.

Haley faces an uphill climb, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday that found that 4 per cent of registered Republicans supported her. Trump received support from 43 per cent of registered Republicans in the poll conducted from Feb. 6-13, while 31 per cent said they supported Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to launch a campaign but has not yet done so.

Other high-profile Republicans looking at a 2024 run include former Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, among others.

"It's time for a new generation of leadership - to rediscover fiscal responsibility, secure our border and strengthen our country, our pride and our purpose," Haley said in her video.

She also harked back to her foreign policy experience with a folksy flair.

"China and Russia are on the march. They all think we can be bullied, kicked. 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," she said.

Trump, 76, has seen his campaign - announced in November - get off to a slow start. On February 2 he mocked Haley on his Truth Social platform, noting she had earlier said she would support Trump if he ran in 2024.

"Nikki has to follow her heart, not her honor. She should definitely run!" he wrote.

Trump was defeated in his 2020 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden. Biden is expected to seek re-election in 2024.

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