Calling her “fascist” and “corrupt,” biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy launched a tirade against his Republican presidential rival and fellow Indian-American Nikki Haley, who refrained from a verbal duel, saying it is not worth her time to respond to him.
Ramaswamy launched the volley of charges against the former South Carolina governor and US ambassador to the UN in Arizona during the Republican Party's fourth presidential debate, which was attended by just four candidates, the other two being former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The front-runner for the Republican Party's nomination, former President Donald Trump, skipped the debate once again and held a fundraiser in Florida instead.
Participating in the debate, Ramaswamy, 38, accused Haley of having “a corruption problem” and held up a pad of paper with “NIKKI = CORRUPT” written on it. This resulted in a mix of boos and cheers from the audience. He called her “a puppet” and accused her of “using identity politics” as “a form of intellectual fraud.”
“Nikki, you were bankrupt when you left the U.N. After you left the U.N., you became a military contractor,” he started and recounted her journey to end with further allegation: “That math doesn't add up. It adds up to the fact that you are corrupt.”
“It's not worth my time to respond to him,” Haley, 51, said when asked by the moderator to respond to the allegations. However, Ramaswamy did not give up and continued to attack Haley.
“The only person more fascist than the Biden (US President Joe Biden) regime now is Nikki Haley, who thinks the government should identify every one of those individuals with an ID,” he alleged. “That is not freedom, that is fascism, and she should come nowhere near the levers of power, let alone the White House,” he said.
Ramaswamy was referring to a recent remark by Haley in which she said that social media users needed to be verified by name, “Every person on social media should be verified, by their name. That's, first of all, it's a national security threat. When you do that, all of a sudden, people have to stand by what they say,” she said.
“And it gets rid of the Russian bots, the Iranian bots and the Chinese bots. And then you're gonna get some civility, when people know their name is next to what they say,” she had said.
Haley defended her remarks on the debate stage.
“What I said was that social media companies need to show us their algorithms. I also said there are millions of bots on social media right now. They're foreign. They're Chinese. They're Iranian. I will always fight for freedom of speech for Americans. We do not need freedom of speech for Russians and Iranians and Hamas. We need social media companies to go and fight back on all of these bots that are happening,” she said.
"As a mom, do I think that social media would be more civil if we went and had people's names next to that? Yes, I do think that, because I think we've got too much cyber-bullying. I think we've got child pornography and all of those things. But having said that, I never said the government should go and require anyone's names,” Haley said.
Haley, whose popularity has been on the rise, was also attacked by DeSantis. “She caves anytime the Left comes after her, anytime the media comes after her,” he said.