Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley Wednesday announced her candidacy for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination in a televised event.
Donald Trump quickly pounced on her presidential aspirating, mocking her dismal poll performance compared to him.
“She’s polling at 1%,” Trump mockingly noted in a Wednesday Truth post, “not a bad start.”
The Daily Mail further reported:
A sarcastic former President Donald Trump mocked Nikki Haley’s entry into the 2024 presidential field by highlighting her poll numbers in a Wednesday post on his Truth social.
‘She’s polling at 1%, not a bad start!!’ Trump remarked.
A Tuesday Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Haley in a slightly better position – at 4 percent.
The ex-president also pointed to comments Haley made in 2021, when she said she would not run for president against him.
‘Nikki Haley had a hard time making the decision to run for President because she very publicly stated that she “would never run against the President. He did a GREAT JOB, and was the best President in my lifetime,”‘ Trump recalled.
He added, ‘I told Nikki to follow her heart, not her ambition or belief.’
‘Who knows, stranger things have happened,’ he said of her chance to nab the nomination.
Later he said that the ‘greatest thing’ Haley did for the country and South Carolina was accept Trump’s offer to become ambassador to the United Nations ‘so that the incredible then Lieutenant Governor, Henry McMaster, could be Governor of South Carolina, where he has done an absolutely fantastic job.’
‘That was a big reason why I appointed Nikki to the position – It was a favor to the people I love in South Carolina!’ the ex-president said.
Trump announced his own 2024 bid back in mid-November.
Haley jumped into the race Tuesday, but held a campaign kickoff event in Charleston Wednesday.
Addressing a crowd from the historic district, Haley took swipes at the nation’s aging leaders and urged GOP supporters who are ‘tired of losing’ to send a ‘tough as nails’ woman to the White House as she kicked off her 2024 campaign.
The former South Carolina governor walked on stage to Survivor’s hit ‘Eye of the Tiger’ to officially launch her presidential bid in a speech attacking 80-year-old Biden, liberals and politicians past their ‘prime.’
The 51-year-old mother of two didn’t mention 76-year-old former President Donald Trump by name as she called for term limits and ‘mandatory mental competency tests’ for politicians over the age of 75.
She vowed that schools would never close their classrooms again, promised to battle China head-on, support Ukraine and said America is ‘strong and proud, not woke and weak.’
The former ambassador to the United Nations enters the GOP primary race as an underdog, with Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis still the favorites for the top spot on the presidential ticket, according to opinion surveys.
Haley had a ‘particular message’ for her fellow Republicans.
‘We’ve lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections,’ she pointed out. ‘Our cause is right – but we have failed to win the confidence of a majority of Americans.’
Of those seven, Trump lost the popular vote twice.
‘Well – that ends today,’ she continued.
‘If you’re tired of losing, then put your trust in a new generation,’ the former South Carolina governor said.
Haley strutted on stage to the ’80s classic after a series of supporters – including the late Otto Warmbier’s mother Cindy and Rep. Ralph Norman – introduced her.
‘It’s not that America is past its prime, it’s just that our politicians are past theirs,’ she told the crowd. ‘We won’t win the fight for the 21st Century if we keep trusting politicians from the 20th Century,’ she added.
‘Joe Biden isn’t leading from behind, he’s not leading at all,’ she also noted at one point.
Haley made her presidential ambitions officially known in a video she rolled out Tuesday, a day before her Charleston speech.
‘Our best days are yet to come if we unite and fight to save our country. I have devoted my life to this fight and I’m just getting started. For a strong America, for a proud America, I am president of the United States,’ she told the crowd Wednesday.
She wore suffragette-white and talked about how her election would make history.
Haley said the way the nation would get past the status quo would be ‘doing some things we’ve never done.’
‘Like sending a tough-as-nails woman to the White House,’ she said.
For his part, Norman – who formally endorsed Haley earlier Wednesday – called the ex-governor ‘America’s version of Margaret Thatcher.’
Haley also joked to her current and future opponents: ‘May the best woman win.’
‘All kidding aside, this is not about identity politics – and I don’t believe in glass ceilings either,’ she said. ‘I believe in creating a country where anyone can do anything and achieve their own American dream.’
At the top of her speech, the daughter of Indian immigrants said several times that she believed the country wasn’t ‘racist’ nor was it ‘flawed, rotten and filled with hate.’
‘Take it from me, the first female minority governor in history: America is not a racist country,’ she said.
But, she added, under Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ watch ‘self-loathing has swept our country.’
She also blasted the current Democratic administration for having the U.S. ‘spiraling toward socialism.’
‘America isn’t perfect – but the principles at America’s core are perfect,’ the former U.N. ambassador said.
Haley served in the South Carolina statehouse and then as the Palmetto State’s governor as a reformer demanding more transparency.
She said she’d do the same thing on a federal level – telling the crowd she was against earmarks, supported term limits and was sick of politicians mugging for the TV cameras more than getting stuff done.
‘In the America I see, the permanent politician will finally retire,’ she said. ‘We’ll have term limits for Congress. And mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over 75 years old.’
She pushed nationwide voter ID laws.
‘In the America I see, everyone has full confidence in our elections,’ she said.
The crowd paused before cheering at that line.
Haley also backed a ‘strong military’ and strong immigration policies.
‘Businesses must hire Americans not illegals,’ she said.
Haley also vowed to stand up to China – while standing with Ukraine.
‘We will stand with our allies from Israel to Ukraine and stand up to our enemies in Iran and Russia,’ she said.
‘In the America I see, communist China won’t just lose. Like the Soviet Union before, communist China will end up on the ash heap of history,’ she added.
Warmbier’s introduction served as a way to both tout Haley’s foreign policy prowess and also her personality.
‘I came here to tell you how Nikki Haley changed my life. To tell you that Nikki was a glimmer of light in the darkest period of my life. To tell you why America would be lucky to have Nikki in the White House,’ Warmbier said.
She said she had asked the Trump administration if she could meet Haley while a guest at the president’s State of the Union address, a year after her son Otto died due to being tortured while in captivity by the North Koreans.
‘There are a lot of people in politics who will tell you how highly they think of themselves,’ Warmbier noted, pointing out that Haley wasn’t one of them. ‘She won’t tell you about our private conversations – but I will.’
After the State of the Union meeting, Warmbier said Haley stayed in touch and would periodically check in. Warmbier told the crowd that the now former U.N. ambassador ‘understands our fears and pushes us to conquer them.’
‘I’ve come to tell you that we need Nikki Haley fighting for all our children, as she fought for Otto,’ Warmbier said.
Before Trump posted to Truth, his campaign was ready with attack lines against Haley as the ex-governor wrapped up her speech.
The campaign pointed to comments she made that were complimentary to Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump’s rival in the 2016 race.
Clinton was the first woman in American history to nab the nomination of a major political party, something that Haley hopes to recreate.
Additionally, team Trump hammered Haley for her support of arming Ukraine in the war against Russia, while pointing out she had said Russian President Vladimir Putin wouldn’t have invaded the adjacent country had the ex-president still been in power.
Trump’s campaign also claimed she was weaker on immigration than Trump and wasn’t initially supportive of banning trans women from using women’s restrooms.
While Haley has voiced her support for banning trans women from women’s sports – she didn’t mention that stance in her kickoff speech, nor did she bring up her pro-life position on abortion – which will likely remain a major wedge issue between the parties during the 2024 presidential race.
The Trump campaign also pointed to Haley’s 2021 comments, when she said she would not challenge her former boss with a White House run.
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