At the second Republican presidential debate, Indian-origin candidates Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy did not mince words when it came to attacking each other, with the former South Carolina Governor telling the tech entrepreneur that “every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber”.
The debate on Wednesday night took place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, and was hosted by the Fox Business Network and Univision.
Besides Haley and Ramaswamy, the other participating candidates were Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum.
While former President Donald Trump skipped the debate this time as well, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, who appeared in the first Republican presidential primary debate on August 23, did not meet the heightened polling and fundraising standards for Wednesday’s event.
The 38-year-old Ramaswamy irked Haley, 51, by defending his collaboration on Chinese short-video-making app TikTok with influencer Jake Paul, reports The New York Post.
“There’s exactly one person in the Republican Party which talks a big game about reaching young people, and that’s me,” the 38-year-old Indian-origin boasted.
When it was her turn, Haley fired back and said: “TikTok is one of the most dangerous social media assets that we could have… Honestly, every time I hear you I feel a little bit dumber.”
She also touched on the national security concerns surrounding TikTok and referenced its historical ties to the Chinese Community Party.
In his reply, Ramaswamy said: “We will be better served as a Republican Party if we’re not sitting here hurling personal insults and actually have a legitimate debate about policy.”
Even during the first Republican presidential primary debate on August 23, Haley had criticised Ramaswamy taking aim at his foreign policy views.
Meanwhile, some of the other participating candidates also took aim at the tech entreprenuer, who is the youngest among them all, reports The New York Post.
Senator Scott said: “Vivek just said we were all good people, and I appreciate that. Because last debate, he said we were all bought and paid for. I thought about that for a little while.
“I can’t imagine how you could say that, knowing that you are just in business with the Chinese Communist Party and the same people that funded Hunter Biden millions of dollars was a partner of yours as well.”
Former Vice President Pence also slammed Ramaswamy’s resistance to military aid to war-torn Ukraine.
Ramaswamy is currently polling in fourth place in the latest RealClearPolitics aggregate of the 2024 Republican pack.