Washington | Donald Trump cannot "bully" his way through nomination, Indian-American presidential aspirant Nikki Haley has said after her party said that it's time for Republicans to unite around the former US president and frontrunner in the race for the White House in 2024.
Haley is the only remaining Republican after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Indian-origin entrepreneur turned politician Vivek Ramaswamy withdrew from the 2024 presidential race earlier this month with both endorsing Trump.
After the New Hampshire primary, where she came in second to Trump, there has been increasing pressure on the 52-year-old politician to withdraw from the race in favour of her former boss. Trump, 77, has also called on her to withdraw from the race.
Haley, the former two-term Governor of South Carolina, has refused to quit. The next major primary is scheduled to be held in her home state of South Carolina later next month.
“He (Trump) can't bully his way through the nomination. I think, it's not surprising that he is surrounded by the political elite, but let's keep in mind, the political elite has gotten nothing done for us in stopping the wasteful spending, has gotten nothing done to secure the border, has gotten nothing done to keep us more safe, as we see wars around the world,” Haley told NBC News’ Meet the Press.
“The reason the political elite are upset and the members of Congress are upset is because I've pushed for term limits; I've pushed for mental competency tests. I've said, if they don't get a budget out on time, they shouldn't get paid. So, look, I have fought this political class my entire life, and it's -- I'd much rather be fighting for the people than fighting for the elected officials in D.C.,” she said.
Haley ruled out withdrawing from the race saying the nominee cannot be decided after results from just two states of the 48. “This is a democracy. The American people want to have their say in who is going to be their nominee. We need to give them that. And you can't do that based on just two states,” she said.
Ahead of the South Carolina primary, she said that she is going strong in her home State. “We started with 2 per cent in Iowa. We ended up with 20 per cent. We got to New Hampshire; we needed to do better than that, and we did. We got 43 per cent of the vote.
“Now we're going into South Carolina; we need to be stronger than what we did in New Hampshire,” she said.
“But it's not just that we need to be stronger. Trump needs to be stronger. He's not getting the independent vote. He's not getting a segment of the Republicans. So he has got some work to do as well,” she added.
Haley was born Nimarata Nikki Randhawa in South Carolina to immigrant Sikh parents from Amritsar, Punjab.