Indian-American Nikki Haley, who finished third in the Iowa caucuses, has said that she is the only Republican candidate who could take on frontrunner Donald Trump and incumbent President Joe Biden and avert a “Trump-Biden nightmare”.
The Iowa caucuses on Monday formally kicked off the beginning of the long process by which the Republicans and Democrats choose their nominees for the presidential election on November 5.
Nikki Haley, the former US Ambassador to the UN, came a close third with nearly 20 per cent of the votes polled. Former US president Trump won the caucus with more than 50 per cent of the votes, while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis came in second with 21 per cent. Fellow Indian-American Vivek Ramaswamy secured 7.7 per cent of the total votes polled and suspended his presidential campaign.
The two-time South Carolina governor said her presidential campaign is the best hope to avert a rematch between Trump and incumbent President Biden, a Democrat, in the presidential election.
“Our campaign is the last best hope of stopping the Trump-Biden nightmare,” the 51-year-old politician told her cheering supporters in West Des Moines, Iowa, late on Monday.
Nikki Haley, who has been climbing up the ladder over the last few weeks, said she is headed to New Hampshire, the battleground for the next Republican primary election on January 23.
Addressing her supporters, the lone woman in the race on either side of the political spectrum said that all the evidence says that if it’s a Trump-Biden rematch, it will be another tossup election.
“It could go either way. We could have more disputes over election interference. And Joe Biden could win again, with Kamala Harris waiting in the wings. Lord, help us,” she said.
Nikki Haley also claimed the Republican contest to choose the presidential nominee is now a two-person race.
“At one point in this campaign, there were 14 of us running. I was at two per cent in the polls. But tonight, Iowa did what Iowa does so well. The pundits will analyse the results from every angle. But when you look at how we are doing in New Hampshire, in South Carolina, and beyond, I think we can safely say… Tonight, Iowa made this Republican primary a two-person race!” she said.
Alleging that Trump and Biden have more in common than one might think, Ms Haley said, “Seventy per cent of Americans don’t want another Trump-Biden rematch. A majority disapprove of both of them.” She also attacked their age and said they are “both consumed by the past, by investigations, by vendettas, by grievances.” Trump is 77 and Biden is 81.
“The majority disapprove of both of them,” Haley said. “Trump and Biden are both about 80 years old. Trump and Biden both put our country deeper in debt and our kids will never forgive them for it. Both Trump and Biden lack a vision for our country’s future because both are consumed by the past,” she said.
Asserting that America deserves better, Haley said, “We deserve a new direction under new conservative leadership. We deserve a president who will focus on the needs of our people, not on themselves.”
“A president who will rebuild our economy, close our border, and stand up to our enemies. Most importantly, we deserve a president who will stop our self-loathing, end the division and fear, and make America strong and proud!” she said.
Ms Haley told her supporters to look at what happens when she goes head-to-head against Biden. “We win in a landslide. It’s not even close. That means no recounts, no lawsuits, and no doubts. It means no more Chuck Schumer leading the Senate. No more endless votes for House Speaker because we’ll have a huge House majority,” she said.
“We’ll term limit the do-nothing Washington politicians. We’ll rebuild our economy and secure our border. And make no mistake, we will restore our national pride. We are blessed to live in America, and it’s time we remembered that,” Ms Haley said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)