Former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has welcomed Ron DeSantis to the 2024 presidential race in response to reports that sources close to DeSantis expect the Florida governor to declare his candidacy in the near future.
Speaking to The Hill’s Niall Stanage, Haley conveyed her anticipation for DeSantis to enter the race, suggesting that his presence will make the primary more competitive.
“Welcome to the race. We’ve been waiting,” Haley told Stanage, adding “I’m glad that he’s going to be out there because I want the American people to see who they’re choosing from.”
Haley was responding to reports that DeSantis has formally filed paperwork to announce his bid for the Oval Office, with sources saying that he will announce on the 24th of May. As DeSantis’ profile has grown, Trump has become more critical of the Republican governor, christening DeSantis with the nicknames “Meatball Ron” and “Ron DeSanctimonious” and even going so far as to say that he (Trump) regretted endorsing DeSantis for governor of Florida.
Haley announced her own candidacy for president last February but has struggled to make a name for herself on the national stage. According to FiveThirtyEight’s aggregate of Republican primary polling, Trump has maintained an overwhelming lead over his opponents, which has only improved throughout the year. Haley, on the other hand, is recorded as having just 3.9% support in the average of polling, trailing behind two men who have not yet officially declared their candidacy (DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence) and barely ahead of entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Among the rivals to Trump, the closest to the Donald is DeSantis, who currently sits comfortably in second place at a little over 20% support.
Despite working closely with Donald Trump during her tenure as ambassador to the United Nations under Trump’s administration, Haley has maintained a complicated and at times tepid relationship with the former president. She was outspokenly critical of Trump during the 2016 Republican primary, and after leaving her ambassador position, she has criticized the former president’s handling of the January 6 Capitol incident.
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