Republican leader Nikki Haley has said that as a ”brown girl” growing up in a black-and-white world, she saw the ”promise of America” unfold before her, as she proudly flaunted her Indian heritage in her first public appearance as a White House hopeful.
Haley, 51, is the two-term Governor of South Carolina and the former US Ambassador to the United Nations.
Addressing her enthusiastic supporters at a well-attended event here in the coastal city of South Carolina on Wednesday, Haley said:“I’m more confident than ever that we can make this vision real in our time – because that’s what I’ve seen my entire life. As a brown girl, growing up in a black-and-white world, I saw the promise of America unfold before me.” In her speech to officially launch her 2024 US presidential bid, Haley leaned on her experience at the UN, her background as the child of Indian immigrants. She asserted that America was not a racist country, pointing out that she was America’s first minority female governor in history.
She further claimed that under President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, “a self-loathing has swept our country.” “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,” she said.
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“Take it from me, America is not a racist country,” she said.
Haley was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa in Bamberg, South Carolina in 1972 to Sikh parents Ajit Singh Randhawa and Raj Kaur Randhawa, who had emigrated from Punjab to Canada and then to the US in the 1960s.
She was raised as a Sikh but converted to Christianity after her marriage to Michael Haley in 1996.
“I see America leading the world – in freedom and peace. But this vision isn’t just mine. It’s the core of our nation’s history and it called to my parents over fifty years ago. I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants,” she said.
Speaking about her experiences of growing up in the US, Haley said:”My parents left India in search of a better life. They found it in Bamberg, South Carolina – population, 2,500. Our little town came to love us, but it wasn’t always easy. We were the only Indian family. Nobody knew who we were, what we were, or why we were there.” Haley’s formal announcement means that she will be the first contender to join the contest against her former 76-year-old boss Donald Trump, who declared his third bid for the White House late last year.
Before entering the presidential ballot, Haley has to win the Republican Party’s presidential primary, which will start in January next year.
The next US presidential election is scheduled to be held on November 5, 2024.
“But my parents knew. And every day, they reminded me, my brothers, and my sister that even on our worst day, we are blessed to live in America. They were right then – and they’re right now. My parents came to a country that was gaining strength and growing in confidence,” she added.