Less than a week after Kamala Harris made history by becoming the first Black and Indian-American woman of colour to be chosen for a major party’s presidential ticket, former US Ambassador to the UN and breakout Indian-American star Nikki Haley took the stage on the opening night of the Republican National Convention (RNC) and urged Americans to give President Donald Trump four more years in the November election.
On Monday night, Haley tore into the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign plans, describing in detail what she called a “radical left” future fuelled by “anarchy”, “riots” and “cancel culture”.
She pushed back against critics who cast the Trump White House as racist.
“America is not a racist country. This is personal for me. I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. My parents never gave in to grievance and hate. I was a brown girl in a black and white world.
“America is a story that is a work in progress,” Haley added.
Republicans opened Monday night’s prime-time convention with dark warnings about America’s future if Trump doesn’t win a second term, casting him as a protector of religious freedom, the right to bear arms and much more.
Haley is one of two people of colour who spoke at the RNC on Monday night. The other is South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate.
Taken together, both Harris and Haley’s presence at their party’s convention gigs speaks to the steady rise of Indian-Americans in US politics.
Haley was the first Indian-American to serve in the US cabinet when Trump appointed her as the Permanent Representative to the UN with cabinet status.
A star of the Republican Party, she left the post at the end of 2018 and has been active in politics.
There has been speculation about her running for President in 2024.
A poll by Leger early this month found that she ranked third as the choice of Republicans to be the party’s candidate in 2024 with 11 per cent support, behind Vice President Mike Pence with 31 per cent and the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr, with 17 per cent.
Haley became the first woman and non-White to be elected governor of South Carolina in 2010 and the second Indian-American to be elected to the office after fellow Republican Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
Republicans will spend the week trying to convince the American people that Trump deserves four more years.
Trump’s supporters are casting the 2020 election as a choice between the American values of freedom and what they cast as the “radical left” world of the Biden-Harris ticket.