Nikki Haley says her father died on Father’s Day

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley posted an online tribute on Sunday to her father, who she said died on Father’s Day.

“This morning I had to say goodbye to the smartest, sweetest, kindest, most honest man I have ever known,” Haley wrote on X. “He taught his children the importance of faith, hard work and grace.”

The social media post included a photo of Haley hugging her father, Ajit Singh Randhawa, at an event. in his native South Carolina to launch his presidential bid in 2023.

Haley, who suspended her bid for the Republican nomination in early March, presented herself during her campaign as the proud daughter of Indian immigrants.

The former South Carolina governor was the first high-profile woman of color to seek the Republican Party nomination for the White House. Last month, she said she would vote for Donald Trump.

In her 2012 memoir “Can’t Is Not an Option,” Haley wrote about growing up in a small, segregated community in South Carolina. Her father kept his hair long and his turban despite the whispers and pointing, which caused a “quiet anger” in young Haley.

Her parents, both from Sikh families in India, married in an arranged marriage. His father, a biologist, left for Canada “with 8 dollars in his pocket”, leaving behind his wife and young son in India. They joined him later.

He earned a doctorate at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and in 1969 he got a job teaching at Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina.

“It is difficult to exaggerate the unusual numbers my mother and father achieved in central South Carolina in 1969,” Haley wrote, describing her father as “tall and proud, in his Sikh turban.”

She said her parents saw “the ugly residue of a less tolerant time” and were denied renting a house. Haley was born in 1972, born to the first doctor in the area to have a non-segregated clinic, she wrote.

Haley, who is one of four children, described her father in her memoir as “a remarkably tolerant and laid-back guy.”

When she was campaigning for governor, her father “hid in the corner” of her campaign events because he didn’t want to hurt her chances, she recalled. They sat in the front row at his inauguration.

In her bid for the Republican nomination in 2024, Haley walked a fine line on gender and race in an effort to appeal to the Republican base.

She was careful to emphasize that being a woman of color was not a barrier to success. In a speech that launched her outsider campaign, she declared that “America is not a racist country.”

Haley did not specify the cause of her father’s death. She interrupted her campaign in January to visit him in hospital.

“He was an extraordinary husband of 64 years, a loving grandfather and great-grandfather, and the best father to his four children. He has been such a blessing to all of us,” Haley wrote on Sunday.

Joyce Lau contributed to this report.

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