By Jazmine Ulloa
Nikki Haley, who has been the target of at least two hoax calls that have sent the authorities rushing to her home, has applied for Secret Service protection as the number of threats against her has increased, a campaign spokesperson confirmed Monday.
After losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, Haley, a former governor of South Carolina and a United Nations ambassador under former President Donald Trump, is now his only rival left in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. The two have been clashing fiercely on the campaign trail and are headed into a heated primary in her home state on Feb. 24.
Trump’s supporters have been known to attack his political opponents with racist messages, death threats and “swatting” calls, or fake reports of emergencies at their homes. But officials with Haley’s campaign would not release any more information about the number or kinds of threats she has received. Haley could also be a target because of her work in Iran as a U.N. ambassador.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the move, Haley said only that her team had seen “multiple issues.” “It’s not going to stop me from doing what I need to do,” she said.
Presidential candidates typically receive Secret Service protection around the time they win their party’s nomination. In 2007, Barack Obama, then a senator, was assigned protection nine months before voting began in the primaries.
Haley has increased security at her events in recent weeks. In South Carolina, reports filed with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office show that deputies have responded to at least two bogus reports at her home on Kiawah Island since December.
In the first, near 2:40 p.m. on Dec. 30, a caller told authorities that he had shot his girlfriend dead inside the house, that there were children at the location and that he was threatening to harm himself, according to the incident report. Deputies said they showed their weapons when they arrived on the scene and told the three people inside to raise their hands. They soon discovered the call to be a hoax and the people inside to be Haley’s parents and a caretaker.
In the second episode, near 1 p.m. on Jan. 1, a caller claimed to have shot her daughter at the home and that she was “lying in a pool of blood,” but authorities recognized the address and held off on sending multiple units, according to the report.
Haley called the experiences “traumatic” on the popular radio show “The Breakfast Club,” in speaking with the hosts, Charlamagne Tha God and DJ Envy. She was not home at the time, she said, adding that authorities burst into the home after they spotted her mother, Raj Randhawa, and her father, Ajit Randhawa, through a window.
“We take care of my parents. They’re 87 and 90,” she said. “And when you have 25 people show up with guns drawn to them — what’s happened to our country, c’mon. I mean, we can’t keep living like this. It’s not normal. It’s not healthy.”
The details took weeks to emerge and have been part of a series of high-profile “swatting” attempts targeting politicians and government buildings in late December and early January. State capitols in Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi and Montana have been evacuated or placed on lockdown after receiving bomb threats that authorities later described as false and nonspecific. Other prominent Republicans have also been swatted, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a right-wing provocateur and Trump ally from Georgia.
The episodes have added to a heightened climate of intimidation and violence since Trump and his allies first fueled lies and conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was stolen. In October 2022, Paul Pelosi, the husband of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was gravely injured when an intruder entered their home and attacked him with a hammer.