Washington, Feb 14 (IANS) Nikky Haley on Tuesday announced she is running for President, becoming the third Indian American to seek the highest political office in the US.
Haley, born Nimrata ‘Nikki’ Randhawa, announced her bid in a video message in which she touts her unique upbringing as an Indian American, which made her acutely conscious and representative of America’s diversity. She speaks about her achievements as South Carolina Governor and foreign policy chops earned as Ambassador to the UN, where, she showed she cannot put up with bullies — essentially China and Russia — and that she can kick back, which can be painful because of her high heels.
Haley has been rising star in the Republican party and long expected to run for the White House. She is a former two-term Governor of South Carolina, one of America’s most conservative states, and former Ambassador to the United Nations, a cabinet-rank position she held in the administration of then President Donald Trump.
Trump is also running and Haley is going up against her former boss. They will clash in the Republican primaries, which is expected to grow with more candidates, including the most highly anticipated of them all, Ron DeSantis, the two-term Florida Governor.
Haley is the third Indian American to seek the Week House, following Bobby Jindal in 2015-16 and Kamala Harris in 2019-20. Jindal, of course, did not survive the Republican primaries, which, were won by Trump. Harris also did last the Democratic primaries, but went on to become the first Indian American to become Vice President, a position that brings her just a breath from the presidency.
Some in the Indian American community have war-gamed a scenario in which Haley wins the Republican primary and Harris wins the Democratic primaries that could and will happen if President Joe Biden decides not to seek a second term.
“The railroad tracks divided the town by race,” Haley starts in the video message with a reference to the town where she was born. “I was the proud daughter of Indian immigrants, not black, not white. I was different. But my mom would always say your job is not to focus on the differences, but the similarities. And my parents reminded me and my siblings every day how blessed we were to live in America.”
Haley calls for the Republican party to rediscover itself saying the party has lost the popular vote in the last seven of the eight presidential elections. “That has to change,” she said, “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.”
One of the seven party nominees who lost the popular vote was Trump, who Haley is up against. But she did not name Trump neither in a positive way for giving her the UN ambassadorship, which allowed her to add foreign policy to her resume; and nor in a negative way, because she tried that once and came to much grief for it because much of the Republican party base remains with the former President.
But Haley did seek to align herself with the so-called “anti-woke” faction of the party, that has been fighting waging a war against a fictional challenge from those who, according to these Republicans, seek to make American feel less proud of themselves because of the country’s history of slavery by teaching “Critical Race Theory” in schools.
“Some look at our past as evidence that America’s founding principles are bad. They say the promise of freedom is just made up, something our ideas are not just wrong, but racist and evil. Nothing could be further from the truth,” she said.
There was then the traditional Republican call for a muscular American abroad. “Some people look at America and see vulnerability. The Socialist left sees an opportunity to rewrite history. China and Russia are on the march. They all think we can be bullied, kicked around,” Haley said. “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.”
“I’m Nikki Haley and I’m running for President,” she said in conclusion.