“Nikki, Nikki!”: These ex-Trump fans have a new champion for 2024

“Nikki, Nikki!


They voted twice for Trump, but demand change for the next US presidential election: Supporters of Nikki Haley, the first Republican to challenge the former president, were white-hot on Wednesday for her first campaign rally.

“It was an extremely quick decision”: as soon as Paula Blank heard of the “special announcement” promised by the Republican to her supporters in Charleston, in the southeastern United States, the 50-year-old rushed on a plane ticket.

“I called my friend, I said to her: “are we going there?”, Confides to AFP this professor, blond and jovial, residing nearby of New York.

The Republican gave her voice to Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020, but had been waiting for “years” for the candidacy of the one who is nevertheless an outsider in the race for the Republican nomination.

The Republican former ambassador to the UN, “expresses herself clearly and perceives the world as it is”, defends Paula Bank.

Nikki Haley had made an appointment with her supporters on Wednesday in a long hangar of this tourist town surrounded by churches, ice cream parlors and restaurants serving oysters. But this “special announcement” – his first candidacy for the White House – had been no longer in doubt since Tuesday.

So when the 51-year-old candidate calls on Americans to “send a tough woman to the White House,” her supporters gloat. “Niki! Nikki!” they shout.

What does it matter that this raven-haired woman has been the voice of Donald Trump's policy abroad for two years.

< p>Or even that she has pledged in the past not to run if the former president were to start running.

Because many of the supporters present at this rally on Wednesday are fundamentally convinced that Donald Trump has “done a good job”. Like Robin Christmas, a 63-year-old accountant, who nevertheless finds the former president too rude to give him his support for a third time.

Instead, this small woman with glasses, originally from South Carolina, decided to engage in a presidential campaign for the first time, as a volunteer for Nikki Haley.

“She's just great,” says the sixty-year-old, proudly wearing a blue T-shirt in the name of the one she hopes to see become the first president of the United States.

The polls, which do not place the Republican only at 4 or 5% of the voting intentions – and therefore still quite far from the White House? Adam Caldwell sweeps them away with the back of his hand.

“It's time to move on”, pleads under a beautiful sun this tall brunette, cooled by the events of January 6, 2021, when supporters of Donald Trump attacked the headquarters of the United States Congress.

The official, residing in the neighboring state of North Carolina, took to the road — on the day of his birthday– to see this child of Indian immigrants, who he says embodies “the American dream”.

“Her parents immigrated here, they settled here and now they see their daughter claiming supreme function”, he lists.

The thirties, a flocked T-shirt with a portrait of former President Reagan on the back, applauds: “It only exists in America .”