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US: Vivek Ramaswamy launches tirade against Nikki Haley again, calls her 'fascist' and 'corrupt'

The 38-year-old Ramaswamy accused Haley of having "a corruption problem" and held up a pad of paper having "NIKKI CORRUPT" written on it. While he accused her of fascism and corruption, Haley refrained from a verbal duel with her rival, saying it wasn't "worth her time".

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Arizona (USA) Published on: December 07, 2023 16:34 IST
Republican presidential candidates Vivek Ramaswamy and
Image Source : ANI Republican presidential candidates Vivek Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley.

Indian-origin entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy once again launched a flurry of accusations towards his rival Nikki Haley at the fourth Republican debate on Thursday by calling her "fascist" and "corrupt". The debate in Arizona was attended by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, with Republican front-runner and former US President Donald Trump absent again.

The 38-year-old Ramaswamy accused Haley of having "a corruption problem" and held up a pad of paper having "NIKKI = CORRUPT" written on it. He also 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 UN. After you left the UN, you became a military contractor... The math doesn't add up. It adds up to the fact that you are corrupt," he said at the debate. Ramaswamy's remarks were received with a mix of boos and cheers from the audience.

While responding to a question about his previous comments on Haley's faith and naming choices, Ramaswamy shifted the narrative to focus on his corruption allegations. He remarked, "I don't question her faith, but I question her authenticity."

"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. That is not freedom, that is fascism, and she should come nowhere near the levers of power, let alone the White House," Ramaswamy further said, in reference to Haley's recent remark that all social media users should be verified by name.

The Indian-American entrepreneur also claimed that Haley's family experienced a threefold increase after her 2004 election. He alleged that while serving as South Carolina governor, Haley accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and that she purportedly awarded multimillion-dollar state contracts to companies that granted her access to private jets.

Not worth my time: Haley to Ramaswamy's remarks

In the face of Ramaswamy's fiery allegations, Haley refrained from a verbal duel, saying "It’s not worth my time to respond to him." Haley had earlier called on all social media users to be verified citing national security threats and getting rid of Russian, Chinese and Iranian bots.

"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 in the Arizona debate in defence of her remarks.

"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 further said.

While DeSantis also attacked Haley for caving whenever the Left or the media came after her, Christie slammed Ramaswamy as "the most obnoxious blowhard in America" for his remarks against Haley. "This is the fourth debate that you would've been voted in the first 20 minutes as the most obnoxious blowhard in America, so shut the hell up."

"I've known her for 12 years, which is longer than he's even started to vote in the Republican primary, and while we disagree about some issues and disagree about who should be president of the United States, what we don't disagree on is this is a smart, accomplished woman and you should stop insulting her," he said.

Christie's remarks came after Ramaswamy claimed that Haley could not name three provinces in eastern Ukraine where she would send US troops.

Earlier spats between Ramaswamy and Haley

Ramaswamy and Haley, the two Indian-origin Republican presidential candidates, have engaged in heated arguments during the previous GOP debates. In the last debate, Ramaswamy referred to Haley and DeSantis as "Dick Cheney in three-inch heels".

Ramaswamy kept his focus on Haley during the debate, and an intense moment came when he attacked her daughter for using TikTok, despite Republican criticism of the Chinese-operated platform. “She 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,” he said. 

In response, a visibly angry Haley said, "Leave my daughter out of your voice. You have her supporters propping her up, that’s fine. You're just scum." This was the first time Ramaswamy targeted a member of Haley’s family, an act that drew clear condemnation from the crowd.

(with inputs from agencies)

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