Businessman and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy took the opportunity to repeatedly remind his rival Nikki Haley that she’s corrupt, including by waving a sign in the air, as they sparred at Wednesday’s GOP debate in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
While answering a question about Ramaswamy’s past remarks about the former U.N. ambassador’s religious faith and her decision not to use her full Indian name — which he has dunked on in the past — Ramaswamy shifted the focus to accuse Haley of being “corrupt” and criticizing her use of “identity politics.”
“I don’t question her faith, but I question her authenticity,” Ramaswamy said.
He continued to criticize Haley, who is the only woman in the Republican primary race, starting with her campaign launch video, in which she said, “I don’t put up with bullies, and when you kick back it hurts them more if you’re wearing heels.”
Ramaswamy claimed that Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, “sounded like a woke Dylan Mulvaney Bud Light ad” — a reference to the transgender influencer’s promotional campaign that drew backlash and boycott calls from right-wingers.
The Ohio biotech entrepreneur went on to reference a line from Haley in the last GOP debate, when she told Ramaswamy he has a “woman problem” after he claimed that her connections to a military contractor were corrupt.
Ramaswamy did not elaborate on this allegation, but he appeared to be referring to reports about Haley’s husband’s financial ties to defense contractors.
“Nikki, I don’t have a woman problem. You have a corruption problem, and I think that’s what people need to know: Nikki is corrupt,” Ramaswamy said at the debate Wednesday.
After he spoke, he raised a scribbled sign that read “Nikki = Corrupt.”
“This is a woman who would send your kids to die so she can buy a bigger house. This is the problem: Using identity politics more effectively than Kamala Harris is a form of intellectual fraud,” he continued, later stating that “having two X chromosomes doesn’t immunize you from criticism.”
Haley then shut Ramaswamy down with a point-by-point debunking of his attacks.
“There’s nothing to what he’s saying,” she concluded, drawing applause from the debate audience.