“The fight goes on!” says Nikki Haley after losing to Donald Trump in South Carolina primary

“The fight goes on! See you in Michigan.” That is the message of Indian-origin Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley after losing to former US president Donald Trump in Saturday’s primary at South Carolina, her home state.

Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley vows to fight on after losing the South Carolina primary on February 24. Screenshot courtesy: Instagram/nikkihaley

In a video on Instagram accompanying this message, Haley addressed her supporters, saying a number of times how blessed she was, emphasising on family, and even congratulating Trump on his victory.

She also said that Trump was not the right choice to fight the Democratic administration. “We need to beat [President] Joe Biden in November… I don’t believe Donald Trump can beat Joe Biden,” she said, telling the audience that it was never about her own political career.

Before Saturday’s voting in South Carolina, whose result was a foregone conclusion, Haley had refused to quit the party’s race to the White House even as Trump was far ahead of her in points.

“I’m not afraid to say the hard truths out loud. I feel no need to kiss the ring. And I have no fear of Trump’s retribution. I’m not looking for anything from him. My own political future is of zero concern. So, I hear what the political class says. But I hear from the American people, too,” Haley said in a major pre-vote political speech in South Carolina..

Haley, 52, also contended that many of the same Republican politicians “who now publicly embrace Trump privately dread him” and were “too afraid” to speak up, despite knowing he had been “a disaster” for the party.

Nikki Haley in South Carolina
Indian-origin American politician Nikki Haley at her alma mater Clemson University, South Carolina, before the primary. Photo courtesy: Instagram/nikkihaley

She argued that Americans deserved a choice and not a “Soviet-style election”, which she described as only one candidate drawing 99 per cent of the vote.

I refuse to quit. South Carolina will vote on Saturday. But on Sunday, I’ll still be running for president. I’m not going anywhere. I’m campaigning every day, until the last person votes, because I believe in a better America and a brighter future for our kids. Nothing good in life comes easy. I’m willing to take the cuts, the bruises, and the name-calling. Because the only way you get to the blessing is by going through the pain.

Nikki Haley, Republican candidate

“Dropping out would be the easy route. I’ve never taken the easy route. I’ve been the underdog in every race I’ve ever run. I’ve always been David taking on Goliath. And like David, I’m not just fighting someone bigger than me. I’m fighting for something bigger than myself,” she said.

“We don’t anoint kings in this country,” she said. “We have elections. And Donald Trump, of all people, should know we don’t rig elections.”

Haley asserted that she was not running to be the vice-president or to run again for the presidency in the future.

“If I was running for a bogus reason, I would have dropped out a long time ago. The rest of the fellas already did that. They have their own plans. I don’t judge them. But I’m still here. I’m fighting for what I know is right. And I don’t care what the party leaders and political elites want. I’ll keep fighting until the American people close the door,” she said.

“That day is not today. And it won’t be Saturday. Not by a long shot. The presidential primaries have barely begun. Just three states have voted. Three. That’s it. After this weekend, we’ll be at four. That’s not a lot. In the 10 days after South Carolina, another 21 states and territories will vote,” Haley said.

Later, in an e-mail to her supporters, Haley said that she was not dropping out of the race. “Some people — perhaps the media and political elites — thought I was dropping out of the race today. Well, I’m not. Far from it,” she said.

Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and a United Nations ambassador under Trump, was trailing her former boss in her home state by double digits.

Indian American supporters keep their faith in Nikki Haley

Several Indian Americans who attended her political rally in South Carolina on the eve of the Republican presidential primary said that Nikki Haley would be the best person to lead the United States.

Though former president Donald Trump was leading by over 22 percentage points, these Indian American supporters were confident that Haley would continue her campaign after Saturday.

“In a general election, you’re given a choice. In a primary election, you make your choice. This is the time for us to make our choice,” said Haley, addressing supporters at the Patriots Point site in Charleston, South Carolina.

“We can either do more of the same, and more of the same is not just Joe Biden, more of the same is Donald Trump, or we can elect a new generational leader that will lead us forward with solutions for the future,” said the American politician, who was born Nimarata Nikki Randhawa in South Carolina to immigrant Sikh parents from Amritsar, Punjab.

“Nikki is giving hope to the millions to make the change, which is needed. You could see the energy there,” said Arun Aggarwal, a longtime supporter and friend of the Republican presidential candidate.

“The speech was phenomenal. This was exactly the message she has been sharing with the voters over the last year,” said Preya Samsundar, an Indian-American woman who attended the rally, to PTI. “Americans are concerned about what’s going around them every single day. As she said, the world is on fire.”