Nikki Haley fired back at Vivek Ramaswamy after he invoked her daughter on the subject of TikTok at the third GOP presidential debate in Miami on Wednesday night.
What he said: Ramaswamy, 38, called out Haley, 51, for “making fun” of his use of TikTok in the past debate “while her own daughter was actually using the app for a long time.” Haley previously made a viral moment when she told Ramaswamy, “Every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say.”
Ramaswamy was invoking Haley’s 25-year-old daughter, Rena, a pediatric nurse, who sat in the audience. “You might want to take care of your family first,” he continued.
How she responded: Ramaswamy’s comments instantly drew boos from the crowd. Haley, who was visibly upset, snapped back, saying “Leave my daughter out of your voice.”
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As Ramaswamy went on to speak, Haley muttered in apparent frustration, “You’re just scum.” The billionaire entrepreneur later cited the former United Nations ambassador for once calling China “our great friend.”
Why she once praised China: Haley was later given the chance to respond to the personal jab. However, she took her time to clarify why she once praised China.
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“He doesn’t know the fact that the reason China was praised was because I negotiated with China and Russia the largest set of sanctions against North Korea in a generation. That is literally the reason North Korea stopped testing ballistic missiles. So I said China did good on their part. That was a negotiation you could never do.”
The big picture: TikTok has long been a subject of data privacy concerns in the U.S. due to its alleged link to the Chinese Communist Party. As of this year, multiple states and government agencies have enacted varying degrees of a ban against the app.
Debate and polling: Haley and Ramaswamy were joined by three other GOP candidates Wednesday night: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. Among the field, Haley is the only candidate to demonstrate a relatively sizable growth in recent poll numbers.
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Former President Donald Trump, who remains the party's frontrunner, opted out to debate for the third time. He recently turned to Haley as his subject of political smears, nicknaming her “birdbrain.”
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