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Nikki Haley kicks off the presidential campaign with the support of Otto Warmbier’s family


Nikki Haley made her opening pitch for the presidency in her inaugural rally Wednesday, calling for a new generation of leadership that would steer America into its future.

Haley51, officially announced her candidacy the day before, positioning herself as the first Republican to challenge former President — and former boss — Donald Trump for the GOP nomination.

“We’re ready — ready to move past the stale ideas and faded names of the past, and we are more than ready for a new generation to lead us into the future,” Haley told a crowd of supporters in South Carolina, where she served as governor from 2011 to 2017 before accepting Trump’s appointment as US Ambassador to the United Nations.

Born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa on Jan. 20, 1972, Haley is the third of four children of Indian immigrants.

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If she succeeds in the primary, she will be the first woman and first Asian American to be nominated by the GOP to the White House.

In her speech, Haley only mentioned Trump once to highlight her UN appointment.

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She resigned in 2018 and parted ways with the former president on good terms; however, she criticized him for influencing the January 2021 Capitol insurrection.

“If you’re tired of losing, then put your trust in a new generation,” Haley told the Charleston crowd. “And if you want to win – not just as a party, but as a country – then stand with me.”

Haley has won the endorsement of US Rep. Ralph Norman (R, SC-5), who previously supported Trump and described him as “exactly who the Republican Party needed” in 2016. Now, he believes it’s time for the GOP to move forward.

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“I believe Republicans are desperately looking for new leadership at the top of the ticket. A new, fresh vision for our nation, defined by real solutions over political rhetoric,” Norman told the crowd.

Also present at Wednesday’s rally was Cindy Warmbier, the mother of the the late Otto Warmbierthe college student who was imprisoned — and released in a vegetative state — by North Korea for subversion in 2016. Warmbier died at a hospital in his home city of Cincinnati days after his return the following year.

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Cindy said Haley helped their family throughout their ordeal, fighting for them and sending them emails and texts to check how they were doing.

“I came here to tell you how Nikki Haley changed my life,” she said. “To tell you that Nikki was a glimmer of light in the darkest period of my life. To tell you why America would be lucky to have Nikki Haley in the White House.”

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday shows Haley as facing an uphill battle, garnering just 4% of support from registered Republicans. After Charleston, she will continue her campaign trail in New Hampshire and Iowa, the first two states on the GOP presidential primary calendar.

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