During yet another debate, sparks were flying between Vivek Ramaswamy and former Ambassador Nikki Haley. This time, during the third RNC debate, this one in Miami, Haley hit back hard against Ramaswamy after he went after her daughter’s social media habits, specifically her use of TikTok.
Ramaswamy had been asked by co-moderator Lester Holt “how do you ban TikTok if you use it,” with Holt pointing out to Ramaswamy that “you campaign on TikTok.” Ramaswamy’s immediate response was to mention Haley’s answer to a previous question, as well as the previous debate, highlighting a rift that’s gone on between the two of them for each of the three debates now.
“In the last debate she made fun of me for actually joining TikTok, well her own daughter was actually using the app for a long time, so you might want to take care of your family first,” Ramaswamy said. As the crowd reacted, and Ramaswamy tried to continue on with his response, Haley jumped in to tell him to “leave my daughter out of this.” She shook her head as the crowd booed even more loudly. “The next generation of Americans are using it, and that’s actually the point,” Ramsawamy continued, as he was nearly drowned out by crowd reaction. “You have your supporters proppin’ her up, that’s fine, here’s the truth: the easy answer is actually to say that we’re just gonna ban one app, we gotta go further,” with Ramaswamy explaining that means “we gotta ban any U.S. company actually transfering data to the Chinese.”
Haley interjected in that answer though to tell Ramaswamy “you’re just scum.”
Haley has repeatedly issued warnings about the dangers of the app, just as she did during that second debate that took place in late September at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valey, California. People were quick to react over social media to the exchange, with many taking issue with Ramaswamy’s decision to mention another candidate’s daughter.
As Guy pointed out, if Ramaswamy mentioned Haley’s daughter in such a way “to get under her skin,” it was a “success,” especially via the platform that he did so.
He did add that the debate on TikTok is still “an important worthwhile conversation, however.”
That being said, whatever substantive points that Ramswamy might have mentioned, they were mostly drowned out by audience members iterally booing him until he could almost no longer be heard.
This wasn’t the only viral moment between the two candidates who often go at it and are often placed near each other on the debate stage when it comes to their similar rankings in the polls. This time, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stood in between them.
Earlier in the evening, Ramaswamy had mentioned Haley so as to try to disntinguish himself from her. “Do you want a leader from a different generation who’s going to put this country first, or do you want Dick Cheney in 3-inch heels,” he asked.
When given a chance to resoond, Haley pointed out “first, I’d like to say they’re 5-inch heels, and I don’t wear them unless you can run in them,” also pointing out “I wear heels, they’re not for a fashion statement they’re for ammunition.”
Haley’s official X account also made a post referencing heels, although many users in response expressed confusion at the dig at Ramswamy.