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Nikki Haley Is Planning Her Future—And It May Include a Presidential Run

The former governor of South Carolina and U.S. rep to the United Nations tantalized the crowd at the College of Charleston’s first Women for Women Summit.

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley visits "Fox & Friends" at Fox News Channel Studios in New York City. Photo by John Lamparski / Getty Images

Last week, just after candidates for the Democratic Party presidential nomination gathered to debate in downtown Charleston, S.C., a rising star of the Republican Party was also talking about the future. “We have a lot left to do,” Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said at the first annual Women for Women Summit organized by the College of Charleston School of Business.

Haley, who spoke after receiving the Woman of Courage Award, didn’t announce she will run for president on the Republican ticket in 2024. But she has been mentioned as a potential running mate to Donald Trump this year or a candidate for the presidency herself in 2024—and there was little doubt that possibility was on the minds of those present. “She’s definitely going to run,” said a fellow speaker at the event, not for attribution. “I don’t think there’s any question about it: This year is Trump’s, but she’s laying the groundwork for the race after that.”

President Donald Trump disembarks Air Force One in Ronkonkoma, N.Y. with Nikki Haley. Photo by Michael Candelori / Shutterstock

Lining up to get her picture taken with Haley before her speech, a business school student effused, “I’m a Democrat, but I’d definitely vote for her. She’s a woman who doesn’t let herself get pushed around.”

Haley has an advocacy group, Stand for America, which promotes that image. Merchandise baring the quotes “I will not shut up” and “With all due respect, I don’t get confused” refer to comments she made during her time with the Trump administration. Haley, who was a member of Trump’s cabinet and the National Security Council until she left her UN post in October 2018, made the first comment to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat at the UN after the administration decided to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The second comment was directed at Trump economic advisor Larry Kudlow after he told reporters that Haley had gotten “ahead of the curve” and suffered “momentary confusion” in previewing policy around sanctions against Russia.

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Her ability to stand apart from but also voice support for Donald Trump is what has made her an intriguing figure in Republican politics. A memoir, With All Due Respect: Defending America With Grit and Grace, released in November 2019, continued her tightrope walk. In it, Haley criticized former secretary of state Rex Tillerson and former White House chief of staff John Kelly, much to Trump’s delight.

At the Women for Women Summit, Haley talked about her “war stories,” including the Kudlow incident, and urged her audience to be true to themselves. Haley’s truth is still unclear, but it’s likely we’ll see her in politics again, soon. As she said at the end of a short film that played before her talk, “I’m too young to stop fighting.”

Haley declined an interview with Worth.

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