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‘You’re just scum’: Haley slams Ramaswamy in heated GOP debate

Questions about TikTok opened the door for one of the messiest exchanges of the night between Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy

Ariana Baio
Thursday 09 November 2023 10:07 GMT
Haley calls Ramaswamy ‘scum’ for referencing her daughter during debate

The 2024 Republican candidates turned on each other in Donald Trump’s absence during a spirited third GOP debate on Wednesday with former UN ambassador Nikki Haley branding Vivek Ramaswamy “scum”.

The tech entrepreneur was booed by the crowd in Miami after attacking Ms Haley’s daughter during a heated exchange over security concerns about TikTok and China – a touchy topic of previous debates.

“In the last debate, [Ms Haley] made fun of me for actually joining TikTok while her own daughter was actually using the app for a long time so you might want to take care of your family first,” Mr Ramaswamy shot at Ms Haley.

The former UN ambassador responded furiously, “Leave my daughter out of your voice.”

As the crowd booed, Ms Haley shook her head, adding: “You’re just scum.”

The two candidates have butted heads in previous debates. During the first debate, Ms Haley attacked Mr Ramaswamy’s foreign policy saying he would make America less safe. In the second debate, the former South Carolina governor said she felt “a little bit dumber” every time Mr Ramaswamy spoke.

But Wednesday night’s attack was the most personal and biggest flashpoint in a two-hour debate marked by personal attacks, while Mr Trump held his own alternative rally just a short drive away in the city of Hialeah.

’Dick Cheney in three-inch heels’

Earlier in the evening, Mr Ramaswamy referred to Ms Haley as well as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as “Dick Cheney in three-inch heels” – an allusion to rumours that Mr DeSantis wears heeled shoes.

Ms Haley later responded to Mr Ramaswamy’s insult saying, “They’re five-inch heels and I don’t wear them unless you can run in them. The second thing I will say is, I wear heels. They’re not for a fashion statement. They’re for ammunition.”

Kicking off the debate, Mr Ramaswamy accused the Republican Party of being a “party of losers” citing the lack of conservative officials elected in Tuesday’s US elections.

The tech entrepreneur accused Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman Ronna McDaniels of being the reason for losses on Tuesday and previous elections.

Ms Haley insulted Mr Ramaswamy’s approach to foreign policy by saying Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping would enjoy Mr Ramaswamy being president.

“I’m telling you Putin and President Xi are salivating at the thought that someone like that could become president,” Ms Haley said.

’Just own it’

On the topic of the environment, Ms Haley called out Mr DeSantis for being a “liberal” for opposing fracking and oil drilling.

“He has opposed fracking, he opposed drilling, last time he said it wasn’t true and everybody found out it was true,” Ms Haley said.

Though Mr DeSantis shook his head in disagreement, Ms Haley confronted him.

“You’re trying to make up for it and act like you weren’t a liberal when it comes to the environment, you were you always have been. Just own it if that’s the case,” she added.

As the candidates wrapped up on Wednesday evening, Ms Haley shook hands with her political opponents, except for Mr Ramasawmy.

The two avoided eye contact as they departed the stage.

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