Posted on December 20, 2021

Haley: Diversifying Puts GOP in Best Position to Lead

Meg Kinnard, Associated Press, December 2, 2021

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley drew on her native South Carolina’s struggles with racist violence during her time as governor, arguing Thursday that the Republican Party is best positioned to lead the country alongside a continued diversification of its ranks.

“Our message is the right message,” she said during a speech in Charleston. “It’s a message of hope, a message of faith — faith in ourselves and our country. The more we spread that message, the more people we’ll add to the Republican tent.”

Haley’s remarks came at The Citadel, where a Republican group made her the first woman to receive its highest honor. The potential 2024 presidential contender and former South Carolina governor received the Nathan Hale Patriot Award, an honor that comes along with a replica Revolutionary War musket. Previous recipients include Donald Trump in 2015 — before he was president — as well as former White House adviser Steve Bannon in 2018 and then-Vice President Mike Pence last year.

Haley — whose parents immigrated to South Carolina from India — has been tapped by the Republican Party in an effort to showcase diversity within its ranks.

Along with fellow South Carolinian Sen. Tim Scott, the Senate’s sole Black Republican, she leads an advisory council to a national effort to diversify and grow the GOP. Last year, both South Carolinians had key speaking roles at the Republican National Convention. And both have frequently spoken openly about personal experiences with discrimination due to their skin color.


“I was a brown girl, in a black-and-white world,” she has said. “We faced discrimination and hardship.”

As Haley ponders her next political steps, the setting — a fundraising gathering put on by The Citadel Republican Society, which advertises itself as “the largest Republican club in the South” — is among a series of well-worn stops for politicians seeking exposure among Republicans in the first-in-the-South presidential primary state.