Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley criticized what she said was a “self-loathing” taking over the U.S. and dismissed accusations that the country is racist during her campaign launch Wednesday in Charleston, S.C.
“A self-loathing has swept our country. It’s in the classroom, the boardroom and the backrooms of government,” Haley said, speaking to supporters. “Every day, we’re told America is flawed, rotten and full of hate. Joe [Biden] and Kamala [Harris] even say America is racist. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
The remarks show how Haley is wading into culture war issues as a part of her campaign. In her launch video released on Tuesday, Haley’s campaign showed a montage of photos, including one from The 1619 Project and a sign reading “Racism is a pandemic.”
“Some look at our past as evidence that America’s founding principles are bad. They say the promise of freedom is just made up,” Haley said in the video. “Some think our ideas are not just wrong but racist and evil. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Haley, who is the daughter of Indian immigrants, also used her launch address on Wednesday to highlight her own background.
“I am a proud daughter of Indian immigrants,” Haley said. “My parents left India in search of a better life. They lived in South Carolina. Our town came to love us, but it wasn’t always easy. We were the only Indian family.”
Haley is the second Republican to throw their hat into the 2024 primary ring, following her ex-boss former President Trump. Haley previously served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under the Trump administration.
On Wednesday, she also called for new blood in GOP leadership.
“We’re ready — ready to move past the stale ideas and faded names of the past,” Haley said. “And we are more than ready for a new generation to lead us into the future.”