Nikki Haley gives strongest signal yet of 2024 run

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has given her strongest signal yet that she is running for president in 2024, teeing up a clash with her former boss and ally, Donald Trump.

Haley dropped the hint in an interview with Fox News, which has appeared to take a hard turn against Trump since the midterm elections.

Haley running?

Pressed by anchor Brett Baier on whether she is running, Haley only said, “stay tuned.” But she didn’t leave much in doubt about her intentions.

In an apparent jab at both 80-year-old President Biden and 76-year-old Trump, Haley, 51, said the country needs a new generation of leaders at the helm.

“I don’t think you need to be 80 years old to go be a leader in D.C.,” she added. “I think we need a young generation to come in, step up, and really start fixing things.”

She also said she worked “great” with Trump but “the survival of America” is “bigger than one person.”

Change of tune

Haley, who had pledged not to challenge Trump in early 2021, said her views have evolved as the need for change at the top has grown more urgent in the Biden era.

“That was before we surrendered to Afghanistan. It was before we saw this high inflation and high crime and before we saw drugs infesting all of our states. It was before we saw our foreign policy in disarray,” she said.

When Baier asked Haley whether she agrees with “high-profile conservatives” who want Trump’s agenda minus Trump the man, she refused to take the bait and responded with criticism of Biden.

“If I run, I’m running against Joe Biden. That’s what I’m focused on, because we can’t have a second term of Joe Biden.”

Crowded primary ahead?

Haley also took a swipe at Trump’s former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, another likely Trump challenger, over claims in a new book that Haley conspired to take former vice president Mike Pence’s job during the Trump administration.

She dismissed the story as “lies and gossip to sell a book,” a potential preview of drama to come. At present, Trump is the frontrunner in a field of one, but the race could get crowded.

A new Morning Consult poll found Trump far ahead of the pack with 48 percent, followed by Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R) at 31 percent. Haley comes in at 2 percent.

Still, Haley told Baier that she has “never lost a race.”

“I can be that leader,” she said.