COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley took aim at Democrats during a prime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention (RNC) on Aug. 24—who she says label America as racist: “That is a lie. America is not a racist country.”
Born Nimrata Randhawa to Indian immigrants, Haley served as President Donald Trump’s first ambassador to the United Nations.
While she spent much of her speech criticizing Democratic candidate Joe Biden and praising Trump, she also invoked her Indian immigrant heritage and position as a “Brown girl in a Black-and-white world” as she argued for a constructive way of uniting the country in the face of racial hatred.
Haley’s speech took on added symbolism coming on the heels of the Democratic National Convention (DNC)’s nomination of Kamala Harris, a Black woman with Indian and Jamaican immigrant parents, for vice president of the United States.
Haley has long been seen as one of the rising Republican stars who may be positioning herself for a next step. She served at the United Nations until an abrupt departure from her post in late 2018 fueled rumors she might mount a campaign to block Trump from a second White House term. But Haley has voiced steadfast support of Trump, and worked to tamp down unsubstantiated rumors that she might be picked to replace Mike Pence as Trump’s running mate.
Last year, Haley officially moved back to South Carolina, a Republican bastion, feeding speculation that another political run might be in the offing. In March, she resigned from the board of Boeing Co. because of her opposition to a bailout of the airplane manufacturer that is in the works amid the new coronavirus outbreak. That gave her a chance to draw a distinction from the Trump administration—which some strategists have said could be helpful if Haley pursues the White House herself.
In her speech, Haley said the country can “build on the progress of our past and unlock the promise of our future,” a future that will start “when the American people re-elect President Donald Trump.”
While the DNC was entirely virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic, the four-night GOP event was held in part before live crowds in Charlotte, N.C.