Republican White House hopefuls squared off in the third presidential primary debate and things got heated between Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy after the political newcomer dragged her daughter into a fight about TikTok.
The five candidates took the stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami on Wednesday where in the absence of GOP frontrunner Donald J. Trump, they had to be content with mauling each other during the event hosted by NBC News.
Ramaswamy was particularly aggressive toward the former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, at one point zinging her as “Dick Cheney in three-inch heels” over her zeal for foreign wars, but the real sparks flew when the topic turned to a ban of the Chinese-owned social media app that many feel is poisoning the minds of young people.
“Leave my daughter out of your voice … You’re just scum.”
— Nikki Haley hits Vivek Ramaswamy after he brings up the fact that her daughter, like him, uses TikTok. pic.twitter.com/3CKUupHaD1
— The Recount (@therecount) November 9, 2023
When moderator Hugh Hewitt asked the dynamic young biotech entrepreneur about whether he’d ban the app even though he himself uses it, Ramaswamy turned to Haley to set up her angry three-word rebuttal that blew up social media.
“Well, I want to laugh at why Nikki Haley didn’t answer your question, which is about looking at families in the eye. In the last debate she made fun of me actually joining TikTok,” Ramaswamy answered. “Well, her own daughter was actually using the app for a long time. So you might want to take care of your family first before preaching to anybody else.”
“Leave my daughter out of your voice,” Haley snapped back as some in the audience booed.
“The next generation of Americans are using it, and that’s actually the point,” Ramaswamy continued. “You have her supporters propping her up, that’s fine. Here’s the truth…”
“You’re just scum!” Haley added in what could be the most memorable line of the night.
Ramaswamy was hammered on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, after his remark made the media’s favorite candidate look like a sympathetic figure and her supporters reacted to her verbal punch in the nose.
Women everywhere: https://t.co/EaeM2M9z9U
— Alyssa Farah Griffin (@Alyssafarah) November 9, 2023
The women in the Erickson household are all ready to beat the hell out of Vivek for dragging @NikkiHaley’s daughter into the debate.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) November 9, 2023
Vivek seems intent tonight on convincing anyone who had any doubt that he is indeed a horse’s ass
— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) November 9, 2023
I’m sometimes genuinely impressed, as a father, how gratuitously repulsive Vivek Ramaswamy is capable of being right there live on stage, with a plasticine grin rictus-slapped onto his face. Leave Haley’s daughter out of it.
— Jeff Blehar is *BOX OFFICE POISON* (@EsotericCD) November 9, 2023
“You’re just scum.”
Nikki Haley to Vivek Ramaswamy on the debate stage.
She speaks for all of us
— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) November 9, 2023
Vivek going after Nikki Haley’s daughter over Tik Tok was absolutely outrageous.
Her response calling him scum for it was mild in my opinion. I’m sure there were many other names she wanted to use. #GOPDebate
— Tara Setmayer (@TaraSetmayer) November 9, 2023
Vivek is an asshole for bringing up Nikki Haley’s daughter’s use of TikTok. She’s an adult. You think Haley has control over her choices? Nothing like a lame personal attack. #GOPDebate
— Kimberly Ross (@SouthernKeeks) November 9, 2023
Haley took the stage with all the momentum that could be generated by weeks of glowing media coverage, threatening to displace Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in second although both badly trail Trump who chose to avoid the debate stage for the third time and held a rally in nearby Hialeah on Wednesday night.
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