Former South Carolina Republican Governor Nikki Haley sparred with fellow GOP 2024 presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy during the second Republican presidential debate—and her insult to him had social media users cackling.
The disagreement between the two revolved around Ramaswamy's recent decision to join the popular social media app TikTok.
Ramaswamy, who made headlines by becoming the first GOP presidential candidate to join TikTok, faced criticism from Haley regarding his stance on the Chinese-owned platform. Despite previously describing TikTok as "digital fentanyl," Ramaswamy decided to create an account on the app, even though it's banned on government-issued devices in the U.S. due to concerns over Chinese espionage.
When asked about his decision to join TikTok during the debate, Ramaswamy explained that he aimed to connect with "the next generation of young Americans." However, Haley sharply disagreed, labeling TikTok as "one of the most dangerous social media apps we could have."
Then she went all in on Vivek:
"Honestly, every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say."
You can see their exchange in the video below.
Haley's pointed words resonated with online commentators—who went after Ramaswamy themselves.
Ramaswamy, whose wealth comes from biotech and financial businesses, has previously been called out for referring to himself as a "scientist" who has developed "a number of medicines" even though he only has a biology degree and has never worked as a scientist.
He has aligned himself with the far-right over the course of his campaign by claiming to oppose corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives even though he, through his nonprofit, Roivant Social Ventures (RSV), has promoted health equity and diversity within the biopharma and biotech industries.
Haley has made headlines in the last week for having historically pushed back against unions, and in 2014, during her tenure as South Carolina's governor, said she didn't want unions in the state because “we don’t want to taint the water."
She has bragged about being a "union buster" because "we didn’t encourage middlemen between companies and their workers.” Her views have come under fire after she criticized President Joe Biden for backing the ongoing United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against the three unionized automakers, which are Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Stellantis.