Nikki Haley Defends Family, Labels Vivek Ramaswamy ‘Scum’ in Fiery Exchange
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley clashed with entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy over the controversial video-sharing app TikTok during the third Republican presidential debate in Miami on Wednesday night. Personal attacks and heated rhetoric dominated the debate, which also included Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.
Ramaswamy's defense of TikTok, which is owned by the Beijing-based parent company ByteDance, against national security concerns sparked the verbal brawl. As the debate progressed, Ramaswamy chastised Haley for her anti-TikTok stance, accusing her of hypocrisy because her daughter allegedly used TikTok for an extended period, reports The Hill.
"In the last debate, she made fun of me for actually joining TikTok while her daughter was using the app for a long time. So you might want to take care of your family first," Ramaswamy said, prompting an immediate and strong response from Haley. “Leave my daughter out of your voice,” Haley said. “You’re just scum.” The exchange quickly escalated, drawing boos from the audience and creating one of the night's most memorable moments.
According to NBC News, Ramaswamy seemed to be unconstrained during the debate and delivered by targeting three prominent women early on, including Haley, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, and NBC News's Kristen Welker. However, his attacks on Haley took center stage, with the mention of her daughter eliciting a personal and emotional reaction. According to the NBC news report, this clash stemmed from a viral moment during a previous debate in which Haley said to Ramaswamy, "Every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say."
The rivalry between the two candidates appears to be based on significant policy differences, with Ramaswamy accusing Haley of siding with the "neocon establishment of the past." He questioned whether voters preferred a leader of a different generation who prioritizes the interests of the country or someone who resembled "Dick Cheney in three-inch heels."
They're both awful.— NOT Elon Musk (@cedar1256) November 9, 2023
In response, Haley joked, "I'd first like to say, they're five-inch heels. They're not for a fashion statement. They're for ammunition." The foreign policy debate highlighted the Republican Party's broader ideological divides, with each candidate vying for a distinct vision of America's role in the world.
According to the NY Times, while the exchange may have been a distraction from Haley's primary goal of closing the polling gap with DeSantis, it is unlikely to have had a significant impact on her standing. Ramaswamy's combative style is said to have irritated both rivals and some primary voters, potentially undermining the effectiveness of his attacks.
The NBC News report also highlighted Ramaswamy's broader strategy of challenging prominent figures during the debate, including McDaniel and Welker. His call for McDaniel's resignation and accusations against Welker for her role in the "Trump-Russia collusion hoax" demonstrated a combative style that may not appeal to all Republican voters. When asked about Ramaswamy's remarks, McDaniel emphasized the importance of focusing on issues that voters care about rather than internal party conflicts.
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