WASHINGTON: Prominent Indian-American Republican leader Nikki Haley has said that she thinks she can be the “new leader” who can take the country in a new direction and the United States cannot have a second term under Joe Biden as president.
Speaking to Fox News in an interview on Thursday, the former Governor of South Carolina and US Ambassador to the United Nations, said she is still working things out on any potential presidential run.
“I think, stay tuned. Well, I’m not going to make an announcement here,” the 51-year-old leader said when specifically asked if she is going to run for the presidential position.
However, during the interview, Haley hinted that she could be the new leader of the US. “But when you’re looking at a run for president, you look at two things. You first look at, does the current situation push for new leadership?
The second question is, am I that person that could be that new leader, that, yes, we need to go in a new direction? And can I be that leader? Yes, I think I can be that leader,” Haley said.
Haley, who resigned from the Trump administration in October 2018, said she did extremely well as governor and ambassador. “As governor, I took on a hurting state with double-digit unemployment, and we made it the best. As ambassador, I took on the world when they tried to disrespect us.
I think I showed what I’m capable of at the United Nations,” she asserted. “So, do I think I could be that leader? Yes. But we are still working through things, and we will figure it out. I have never lost a race. I said that then. I still say that now. I’m not going to lose now. But stay tuned,” Haley said.
Haley, the second governor of Indian descent after fellow Republican Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, said it was time to bring new leadership to the Republican Party.
“We have lost the last seven out of eight popular votes for president. Seven out of eight Republicans have lost. Something is wrong. And so I think it’s time that we bring in a new generation that can bring in more people to our party, that can really talk about the solutions that we need to go,” she said.
During the interview, Haley also emphasised that President Biden, a Democrat, should not be given a second term. Biden, 80, is the oldest sitting US President. “If I run, I’m running against Joe Biden. That’s what I’m focused on, because we can’t have a second term of Joe Biden,” Haley said.
The next US presidential election is scheduled to be held on November 5, 2024. Haley was not categorical if she would still be running if her former boss decides to contest for the Presidential position again.
“I had a great working relationship with the president. I appreciate all the foreign policy issues we worked on together. But what I will tell you is, the survival of America matters,” Haley said.
“And it’s bigger than one person. And when you’re looking at the future of America, I think it’s time for new generational change. I don’t think you need to be 80 years old to go be a leader in DC. I think we need a young generation to come in, step up, and really start fixing things,” she told the news channel.
Haley also slammed her former Cabinet colleague Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of State, who in his recent book alleged that she plotted to replace Mike Pence as Donald Trump’s vice president.
In the book, Pompeo said: “I received a call one evening from John Kelly, chief of staff, who apologised for allowing Ambassador Haley to go to the Oval Office. She had not gone there for a personal matter but had entered the Oval Office with the president’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared. As best Kelly could tell, they were presenting a possible Haley for vice president option. He was certain he had been played.”
Haley described the allegations as lies. “No,” she said when asked if that was true. “Pompeo even says he’s not sure if it’s true. I never had a conversation with Jared, Ivanka or the president about the vice presidentship. And what I will tell you is, it’s really sad when you’re having to go out there and put lies and gossip to sell a book,” she said.
“I mean, I don’t know why he said it, but that’s exactly why I stayed out of DC as much as possible, to get away from the drama and get away from the gossip. I focused on my job. And that’s what I always did,” Haley said.
Haley was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa to immigrant Sikh parents in the US state of South Carolina. Her father, Ajit Singh Randhawa, and her mother, Raj Kaur Randhawa, immigrated to the US from Punjab.