Who is the Republican candidate for president, asks Nikki Haley

Image shows Nikki Haley

With her declaration that she will run for president in 2024, Nikki Haley becomes the first Republican to put Donald Trump up for the nomination. It is the most recent first in a career filled with them, so how did she end up running for president?

When Nikki Haley, then 39, became the youngest governor in the US in 2010, she first gained widespread attention more than ten years ago. She became the first Asian-American woman and governor of the conservative southern state of South Carolina thanks to her victory there.

Her campaign had been viewed as improbable from the beginning. "No one took her seriously. About ten of us believed she could win, according to a friend of hers who spoke to Politico magazine recently. But she gained momentum through grassroots campaigning and eventually won high-profile support from Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney.

She was quickly hailed as a rising Republican star who could transform the party's male-dominated image following her victory over an all-male field. She told the crowd gathered at her victory rally, "This is a great night for the thousands of people across this state who believed in this underdog campaign.".

Her positions on important issues are clear from her two terms as governor, which she held between 2011 and 2017. She gained a reputation as a moderately conservative and pro-business politician who was committed to luring major corporations to South Carolina. She said at the time, "If you come [here], the cost of doing business is going to be low.". "We'll have one of the lowest union participation rates in the country. ".

She has referred to herself as pro-life and has backed South Carolina legislation intended to restrict access to abortion. In her first year as governor, Ms. Haley signed a law toughening up on illegal immigration. Since then, she has criticized President Biden's border policies. She has stated that she would support and defend the right to bear arms.

Nikki Haley speaks to supporters as she comes onto stage during an election party in 2010
After winning the South Carolina governor's race, Nikki Haley was heralded as a rising Republican star.

The shooting of nine black worshipers inside the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston by a white supremacist in 2015 may have been the governor's most pivotal moment and one that elevated her profile nationally.

According to prosecutors, the attack was carried out in an effort to start a race war; Ms. Haley later said it "shattered my world.". The Confederate flag of the slave-owning South during the American Civil War was seen being carried by the shooter; this flag is still viewed by some as a symbol of racism. The flag, which was at the time flying over the state Capitol building, quickly came under fire.

Ms. Haley had opposed the flag for years, but she has since changed her mind. She demanded that it be taken down from state property five days after the murders, which started a process that culminated one month later with the passage of a motion to do so in the state legislature following a tumultuous and emotional debate.

After making its removal law, she declared, "There is a place for that flag.". "It's not located in a neighborhood that reflects all South Carolinians. ".

But in 2019, after saying to a conservative radio host that the Confederate flag represented "service, sacrifice, and heritage" and had been "hijacked" by the Charleston shooter, Ms. Haley came under fire.

She added that the media had attempted to control the story surrounding the shooting. "They intended to make this a racist incident. It was supposed to be about gun control, she claimed.

At the time, Ms. Haley's "continued use of this tragedy for political reasons is disgusting," according to J. A. Moore, a Democratic state representative from South Carolina whose sister died in the shooting.

Later, she claimed in an essay for the Washington Post that her views on the flag had not changed and blamed the negative response on a shift in culture. "Today's culture of outrage forbids making gestures to the opposing side. We must identify the winners and losers, she wrote.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley waits to speak to press outside the Emanuel AME Church
2015's church shooting in South Carolina was a turning point in Nikki Haley's governorship.

She was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa in Bamberg, South Carolina, to Punjabi Sikh immigrants from India who ran a clothing store. Mr. Haley frequently discusses her background. In a video announcing her presidential bid, she claimed that growing up, she experienced racist taunts in that rural area of the state and that she was "not Black, not White - I was different.".

"When I was a kid, we were outsiders. But that is common. Everywhere in the world, those who are different are considered outsiders, she wrote in her memoir from 2019.

However, she has stated that she does not believe institutional racism exists in the US. "That is untrue. She proclaimed at the 2020 Republican National Convention that "America is not a racist country.".

Following these remarks, Ms. Haley received criticism from some social media users for not using her first name; some claimed she had "white-washed" her identity. However, a spokesman later revealed to USA Today that she had been known since birth by her legal middle name, Nikki.

She married Michael Haley in 1996 after meeting him while both were accounting students at Clemson University, and she then took on his last name. The couple married twice, once in a Methodist ceremony and once in a Sikh ceremony, and they have two kids.

After receiving her degree, Ms. Haley worked for her parents' clothing company before assuming a number of senior positions in the private sector. After being elected to the South Carolina legislature in 2004, she started working in politics.

Image shows Nikki Haley and Donald Trump
Under Donald Trump, Nikki Haley was chosen to represent the United States at the UN.

During the 2016 election, Ms. Haley opposed Donald Trump, saying she was "not a fan" of him and endorsing a number of his rivals. He embodied "everything I taught my children not to do in kindergarten," she claimed.

After accepting the then-president's nomination to serve as the US ambassador to the UN, she did, however, resign from her position as governor of South Carolina in 2017.

She worked there for two years and, in contrast to many of Mr. Trump's early appointees, never had a confrontation with the president in the media. She aggressively advocated for the administration's support of Israel and stood firm against North Korea and Russia.

There were rumors that after stepping down prior to the 2018 midterm elections in November, Ms. Haley would oppose Mr. Trump for the 2020 presidential nomination or take Mike Pence's place as his vice president. Instead, she made her way back to South Carolina where she began to speak publicly and publish two books.

After the riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, she publicly criticized Mr. Trump, saying, "We need to acknowledge he let us down.". The day following the riot, she made a speech in which she declared that "his actions since election day will be judged harshly by history.".

Since then, she seems to have changed her opinion of the former president. She made a commitment not to run against Mr. Trump for president at one point in 2021. She later reversed course, citing the need for "generational change" in an apparent dig at Mr. Trump, 76, in recent months.

She declared her candidacy for president with the words: "It's time for a new generation of leadership to rediscover fiscal responsibility, secure our border, and strengthen our country."

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