Haley’s expected announcement represents a turnabout: Haley declared in 2021 that she wouldn’t run for president if Trump did. But Haley telegraphed her change of plans in an interview with Fox News earlier this month, saying, “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 D.C.”
Trump has already started making light of the shift, pointing out to reporters over the weekend that she had previously said she would defer to him.
Haley, whose parents were Indian immigrants, has long been seen as a prospective presidential candidate. After serving in the South Carolina legislature, Haley won election to the governorship in 2010, after prevailing in a hotly contested primary in which she’d initially been regarded as the underdog. During the primary, she was bolstered by endorsements from people including former South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Haley spent six years as governor. In 2017, Trump picked her to join his Cabinet. After serving two years on the job, she launched a political nonprofit that served to promote her policies and, later, a political action committee that allowed her to support endorsed candidates.
The PAC, Stand for America, also helped fund Haley’s travel to early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire, where she stumped for local candidates.
Haley’s decision to launch her campaign in her native South Carolina highlights how critical the early-voting state is to her prospects — and several other candidates. Haley could face competition from another home-state contender, Sen. Tim Scott, who is also considering a bid. Haley appointed Scott to the Senate in 2012. He has since won elections to two full terms.
Trump also appears to be focusing on the state, having made an appearance in Columbia, S.C. over the weekend. The former president has received the endorsements of Sen. Lindsey Graham and Henry McMaster, both of whom are longtime allies.
Trump won the South Carolina GOP primary in 2016 – a contest in which he prevailed over the Haley-backed candidate, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Haley stared down Trump during a congressional primary contest in South Carolina last year, when Haley put her political muscle behind GOP Rep. Nancy Mace, who faced a Trump-backed primary challenge from Katie Arrington. Mace went on to win the primary for the Charleston-area seat handily.