During a speech in Greenville, South Carolina, on Tuesday, 2024 Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley made it clear that she’s “not going anywhere.”

“Some of you — perhaps a few of you in the media — came here today to see if I’m dropping out of the race,” she said. “Well, I’m not. Far from it. And I’m here to tell you why.”

“I’m running for president because we have a country to save,” Haley said, adding that “instead of focusing on how to make America stronger tomorrow, some people want to know if I’m going to cave today.”

She said the calls for her to drop out of the race are coming from political elites, party bosses and “their cheerleaders in the commentator world,” who, she said, argue that Haley is unlikely to win the GOP primary in South Carolina, where she served as governor.

Former President Donald Trump, the front-runner in the race, was also in Greenville on Tuesday for a Fox News town hall. According to a recent poll from The Hill, he holds a 23-point lead over Haley in South Carolina, with 58% and 35%, respectively.

Why Nikki Haley doesn’t want to drop out of the 2024 race

She said she understands that “the herd mentality is enormously strong.”

“A lot of Republican politicians have surrendered to it. The pressure on them was too much. They didn’t want to be left out of the club,” she said. But, Haley added, that she doesn’t feel the need “to kiss the ring” nor does she fear Trump’s retribution.

She compared herself to the biblical David, a young Israelite boy who defeated Goliath, a giant Philistine warrior. “And like David, I’m not just fighting someone bigger than me. I’m fighting for something bigger than myself,” she added.

Haley reiterated she wasn’t interested in becoming vice president or setting up “a future presidential run.”

Around 50 people were reportedly in attendance at the invite-only event, held just days before the South Carolina Republican presidential primary on Feb. 24. “South Carolina will vote on Saturday. But on Sunday, I’ll still be running for president,” she said. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Nikki Haley wants to be the solution for the ‘Biden vs Trump’ fatigue

In her speech, Haley said that while Trump didn’t want an opponent in this election, voters say otherwise. Haley noted that Trump lost nearly half the vote in Iowa and New Hampshire, with 49% and 46%, respectively, and said it spelled “disaster in November.”

She also criticized Biden, saying his gaffes make it seem like “his mind is closing up shop.”

“There are still 812 months before Election Day,” she said. “Do we really want to spend every day from now until November watching America’s two most disliked politicians duke it out?”

A recent Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll from January found that 24% of voters in Utah are interested in a third-party candidate, reflecting a nationwide trend of disappointment in a possible Biden-Trump rematch, as previously reported.

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Haley argued, “Trump is the only Republican Biden can beat,” something that Democrats are betting on, she said.

“Trump knows it too, but he won’t admit it,” she said. “He’s taking out his anger on others. He’s getting meaner and more offensive by the day. He’s trying to bully me and anyone who supports me. ... That’s not the way you win elections.”

She added: “I’ve dealt with bullies my entire life. They don’t intimidate me. They only motivate me further. And I’ve never met a bully I couldn’t take on.”

Having served as the United Nations ambassador under the Trump administration, Haley said Russia isn’t the only foreign adversary “that smells blood in the water.”

“When the dictators in Iran, North Korea, and Communist China see America step back, they rush into the breach. They think America’s time has passed — and their time has come,” she said. She added that voters already know Biden and Trump’s way of dealing with foreign adversaries, “but we’re just as concerned with who they are”

“They’re dividers at a time when America desperately, urgently, needs a uniter,” Haley said.

Haley’s emotional plea to voters

Haley said she’s a “proud daughter of legal immigrants.” Growing up, she said she saw South Carolina “move beyond hatred and elect the first female minority governor in American history — as a conservative Republican.”

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She asked South Carolina voters to stand with her and “see the America I see.”

Haley held back tears as she talked about her husband, Michael, a major who is currently deployed with the South Carolina Army National Guard to Djibouti, and said she wished he was with her.

“This is Michael’s second deployment. It was hard for us to say goodbye the first time, when he deployed to Afghanistan. It was even harder last summer when he deployed to Africa,” she said.

“Michael is fighting for the country he loves. So are all his brothers and sisters-in-arms,” Haley said. “Now I will continue to make my stand because America is worth living for.”

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