Nikki Haley Announces 2024 Presidential Campaign Centered on Generational Change

Nikki Haley launched her 2024 presidential campaign with a speech in South Carolina centered on generational change away from the “faded names of the past.”


Nikki Haley launched her 2024 presidential campaign with a speech in South Carolina centered on generational change away from the “faded names of the past.”

  • Haley’s theme is a not-so-subtle shot at the frontrunners for both parties, President Joe Biden, 80, and former President Donald Trump, 76, the two oldest men to ever serve as president.
  • In a nearly 4-minute video released Tuesday, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and governor of South Carolina called for Republicans to return to “the values that still make our country the freest and greatest in the world” after the party has “lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections. That has to change.”
  • Nikki Haley is the second Republican to join the field after Trump, and quickly took a stand against leftist claims that the U.S. is a racist country. “A self-loathing has swept our country. It’s in the classroom, the boardroom and the backrooms of government,” Haley told supporters. “Every day, we’re told America is flawed, rotten and full of hate. Joe and Kamala even say America is racist. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
  • Haley reflected on her own background to make the case that those who “say the promise of freedom is just made up” are mistaken. “I am a proud daughter of Indian immigrants,” Haley said. “My parents left India in search of a better life. They lived in South Carolina. Our town came to love us, but it wasn’t always easy. We were the only Indian family.”
  • Nikki Haley became the nation’s youngest governor at age 38 in 2010 after coming out of nowhere to win the Republican nomination for governor. The first woman and Indian American to lead South Carolina, Haley appointed Tim Scott to the Senate presided over a growing economy.
  • Haley first rose to national prominence for her leadership after a white supremacist murdered nine Black worshippers at a bible study at a church in Charleston. After the massacre, Haley pushed through legislation to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse.
  • Then-President Trump appointed Haley as his Ambassador to the United Nations in early 2017. Haley touched on her time at the UN in her speech, highlighting her standoffs with dictators and harsh criticism of Russia and China.
  • Former President Trump welcomed Haley to the race in true Trump fashion. Trump said, “I’m glad she’s running. I want her to follow her heart — even though she made a commitment that she would never run against who she called the greatest president of her lifetime.”
  • Shortly after her announcement speech, the Trump campaign emailed out an attack on Haley’s previous support for reforming Social Security and Medicare. Haley’s address had a few barbs as well, including a call for mandatory “mental competency tests” for politicians over 75 – a.k.a., Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
  • The Republican presidential field is likely to grow in the coming months. Former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Sen. Tim Scott are considering presidential campaigns, as is the leading non-Trump candidate in nearly every G.O.P. primary poll: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Columnists from the New York Times Opinion Section weighed in on Nikki Haley’s chances. Most were skeptical Haley would succeed. As David French put it, “The Republican race is best summed up as two individuals (Trump and DeSantis) and a field. Maybe a third candidate can emerge from the field, and maybe that person can be Haley — a decent reason to take her seriously — but we need to see evidence of independent traction.”
  • As NBC News observed, “the former governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations talked up her personal story as the daughter of Indian immigrants and the first person of color elected governor in the state, while also insisting she would not center ‘identity politics’ in her bid.”
  • “In theory, a Republican could acknowledge that Trump’s success exposed the inadequacy of the party’s 2015 program without adopting his entire program,” wrote Ramesh Ponnuru in the Washington Post. However, “there is another possible synthesis that is less promising, and it’s what Haley is so far offering: an old-style Republicanism that learned nothing from Trump except to be more insulting.”



  • Generational change was the centerpiece of Haley’s announcement speech, according to the Washington Free Beacon. Haley told supporters, “America is not past our prime, it’s just that our politicians are past theirs.” Haley continued, “We won’t win the fight for the 21st Century if we keep trusting politicians from the 20th Century.”
  • The Wall Street Journal editorial board praised Haley’s “personal charisma” but wrote there is “no clear rationale for her candidacy.” Haley’s challenge, according to the board, is “identifying the rationale for her candidacy beyond a winning persona. Her campaign announcement stressed a belief in America as a force for good, the seriousness of global threats, and the follies of the progressive left. Is there a Republican presidential candidate who believes something different?”
  • National Review’s Jim Geraghty urged Republican voters to “give Nikki Haley a chance.” Geraghty praised her foreign policy record from the Trump administration and noted “It might be nice to have a president whose husband is a captain in the U.S. Army National Guard, who served for a year in Afghanistan, and whose convoys were hit with improvised explosive devices twice, thankfully with no injuries…It might be nice to have a president for whom military deployments and the effect on military families is not an abstract issue.”


Return to Freespoke

© Dominic Moore, 2023