Nikki Haley makes a compelling pitch to South Carolina voters ahead of key primary in home state

PTI | Charleston | Updated: 24-02-2024 11:17 IST | Created: 24-02-2024 11:08 IST
Nikki Haley makes a compelling pitch to South Carolina voters ahead of key primary in home state
Nikki Haley Image Credit: Flickr
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Indian-American presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Friday made a compelling argument to fellow Republicans in South Carolina, on the eve of the crucial primary elections, with many of her supporters saying that she is the best bet for the US right now.

Several Indian Americans who attended her political rally in her home state of South Carolina on the eve of the Republican presidential primary said that Haley would be the best person to lead the United States.

With fingers crossed, given that former president Donald Trump is leading by over 22 percentage points, these Indian Americans were confident that Haley, 52, would continue her presidential campaign after Saturday and go up to the GOP convention.

Even as Haley, a two-time former governor of South Carolina, has bridged the gap -- once was more than 30 per cent -- with Trump in South Carolina, the national media has virtually written her off and believes that the former president and her ex-boss would be the eventual nominee of the Republican Party.

Haley and her team do not believe so. “In a general election, you’re given a choice. In a primary election, you make your choice,” she said.

“This is the time for us to make our choice,” Haley, a former US ambassador to the UN, told her supporters numbering a couple of hundred at the Patriots Point site in Charleston, South Carolina ahead of Saturday's Republican primary.

“We can either do more of the same, and more of the same is not just Joe Biden, more of the same is Donald Trump, or we can elect a new generational leader that will lead us forward with solutions for the future,” she said, asserting that she is not leaving the race.

“Some people in the media thought I would drop out of the race. Well, I’m not. Far from it,” she said.

Haley said it is time to bring back normalcy to the US. “Our kids deserve to know what normal feels like. Joe Biden calls anybody who doesn’t support him fascist. And Donald Trump calls anybody who doesn’t support a vermin. That’s not normal,” she said.

“Nikki is giving hope to the millions to make the change, which is needed. You could see the energy there,” said Arun Aggarwal, a longtime supporter and friend of the Republican presidential candidate.

If elected, she would be the first-ever female and first-ever Indian-American president of the United States.

Haley was born Nimarata Nikki Randhawa in South Carolina to immigrant Sikh parents from Amritsar, Punjab. “The speech was phenomenal. This was exactly the message she has been sharing with the voters over the last year,” Preya Samsundar, an Indian-American woman who attended the rally, told PTI.

“Americans are concerned about what’s going around them every single day. As she said the world is on fire,” she said.

Prittany Martinas, a young girl attending the Haley rally, said the former two-term governor of South Carolina is a common-sense conservative and brings hope to the people of the United States.

“She is the leader that our generation needs. She is going to lead us in the right direction when it comes to the economy when it comes to reducing crime, reducing inflation. I think she is exactly what was needed in this new generation of leadership,” Prittany told PTI.

“The one major difference here that we should focus on is that Nikki Haley gives us hope. Donald Trump does not give us hope,” said Elizabeth Smith, another woman participant at the rally.

Meanwhile, Trump continued with his attack on Haley. Addressing a huge gathering of his supporters, Trump said ''Tomorrow, you will cast one of the most important votes of your entire life.'' He alleged that Haley is relying on Democrats and liberals and that the Democrats are financing her campaign.

“Nikki Haley is not in this race to fight for you, she's in the bidding for big donors, or maybe she wants to get a contract on CNN,” he said.

He told his supporters not to vote for Haley. “A vote for Nikki Haley tomorrow is a vote for Joe Biden this November…A vote for Trump is a vote to FIRE Crooked Joe…,” Trump said.

“So if you want a president who puts America first, then defeat Nikki Crooked Joe and elect your favourite president: Donald J. Trump,” he told the cheering crowd.

In a conference call with reporters, Nikki Haley for President campaign manager Betsy Ankney announced a seven-figure ad buy across Super Tuesday states, the latest sign that Haley is moving full steam ahead.

The ad buy consists of cable TV and digital platforms and will play in Super Tuesday states as 874 delegates are up for grabs on Tuesday, March 5.

“History and the polls show that Trump cannot win. And thinking that Trump can somehow cobble together the winning coalition that propelled him to victory in 2016 against an enfeebled Joe Biden is just a pipe dream. Let's look at what he's done in just the last month,” Ankney said.

“He has called women stupid. He has cosied up to dictators. He has encouraged Putin to invade Europe. He disparaged members of the military. And he also has spent USD 58 million in campaign contributions on his personal court cases. He lost Independents in New Hampshire by 22 points. He has done and said nothing that is going to bring back the demographics that our party has lost. They know who he is and they don't like him. And they have rejected him in every single election since 2016,” she said.

The Haley spokesperson said that there is a reason Biden and the Democrats want to run against Trump. “They know they can beat him. Again. If Trump is the nominee, the House is gone. If Trump is the nominee, the Senate map automatically shrinks from 8 or 9 targets to 3 – and keep in mind this is the best Senate map Republicans have for the rest of the decade,” Ankney told reporters.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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