Former President Donald Trump recently launched his 2024 bid in a relatively low-key fashion, and it appears he will not be alone on the campaign trail for much longer. Nikki Haley, who served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, will announce her candidacy in two weeks, The Post and Courier, a Charleston, SC, newspaper, reported February 1.
Haley, 51, who also served as governor of South Carolina for six years, is just one of several former Trump administration officials whose names have been floating around as potential competitors to their old boss. The Post and Courier cites a member of Haley’s “inner circle” as the source for this news. Her top supporters will soon receive email invitations to a campaign launch on February 15.
Assuming the former governor jumps into the ring, she would be going back on her 2021 pledge not to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination. As reported by CBS News, she told the Associated Press at that time that she “would not run if President Trump ran.” Now, she says things have changed, which is a reasonable observation. Anytime a politician says they have no plans to do something, start looking for a grain of salt. Specifically, there’s a general feeling that Trump doesn’t command the massive support and enthusiasm he did in 2016 or 2020.
That being said, the 45th president is still the candidate of choice for most GOP voters, according to almost all the recent surveys. By contrast, Nikki Haley scored in the single digits in these polls.
Nikki Haley and the Winding Path to President
She was once something of a GOP golden girl, a rising star in the party, to apply an often overused term. But she has accumulated political baggage since her time in the South Carolina governor’s mansion. It was from there, in 2015, that Haley approved a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the state capitol. The left launched a pressure campaign against this symbol of the South following a mass shooting at a black church in Charleston that year. Some on the right thought Haley’s decision to remove the flag was a sign of weakness – that she gave in to the left’s demands.
In 2016, Nikki Haley might have been considered a “never-Trumper.” She was not much of a fan. More than once, Haley publicly opposed elements of Trump’s platform, such as his pledge to construct a wall on the southern border. How she addressed that specific issue sounded, to many, like Democrat soundbites; building a wall was an “attack” on immigrants, for example.
Still, Haley soon wound up on Trump’s team. Maybe she thought it best to bite her tongue and take a position in which she could do some good, even if she didn’t much care for Trump’s style or his policies. On the other hand, perhaps the lure of the most critical US ambassadorship was too strong for an ambitious politician.
What are the chances that Nikki Haley can outlast Trump in the Republican primaries? Slim to none is the only realistic answer. She will have a hard time shaking off her opposition to securing the border, considering the current disaster area it has become under the Biden administration. If there is one certainty when conservatives go to the polls in their respective states in 2024 to choose a nominee, it is that they will not vote for anyone less than totally committed to ending the border crisis. And though Trump said he recently spoke with Haley about the 2024 race and did not attempt to dissuade her from running, he will use that signature issue against her.
If the previous president is going to be denied the opportunity to become the next president, it will take someone other than Haley to do it.
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