“In the last debate, 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,” Mr Ramaswamy said on Wednesday night about the app owned by the company ByteDance, which is based in Beijing.
“Leave my daughter out of your voice. You’re just scum,” Ms Haley responded, with Mr Ramaswamy’s attack leading to boos from the audience.
“You have her supporters propping her up, that’s fine,” Mr Ramaswamy said.
A number of social media users noted that the moment was similar to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during the Oscars after the comedian joked about Smith’s wife. Smith shouted: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f***ing mouth”, as he mounted the stage and hit Rock across the face.
“#NikkiHaley goes Will Smith on Ramaslimy: ‘Keep my daughter out your f’ing mouth!” filmmaker and podcaster Andy Ostroy said.
On Wednesday night, Mr Ramaswamy wrote on X: “Enough of the virtue signaling from people like @NikkiHaley who rails against TikTok even as her adult daughter has been on the platform for years. The fact is that 76% of 18-24 year-olds are on TikTok. We’re not going to change this country without winning. We can’t just talk about the importance of the GOP ‘reaching young voters’ while hiding in our own echo chambers.”
“Nikki Haley goes Will Smith, after Vivek Ramaswamy gets even more viciously personal. ‘Leave my daughter of your mouth…you’re just scum.’ He’s been going after her disgracefully all night. He deserved it,” one X user wrote.
After the debate, Ms Haley’s son Nalin took to X, writing: “Vivague Ramaslimey backpedaling more than his receding hairline. And her account was deleted a very very long time ago. Desperate attack.”
He was adding to a tweet saying: “She’s right. Invoking her daughter was despicable and completely unnecessary. It’s not Haley’s daughter’s fault that Vivek went from claiming the CCP was the biggest threat to joining the CCP app to get some influencer attention.”