Entrepreneur Vivkek Ramaswamy held up a handmade sign during the fourth Republican presidential debate targeting former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
When asked by the debate moderators why Ramaswamy seemingly took shots at Haley, who is also an American-Indian, and why he refused to call her Nikki and instead called her by her given name, Nimarata, Ramaswamy revealed he questioned her “authenticity.”
“My whole deal is if Nikki Haley of all people should know how to pronounce my name correctly, the rest of the news media can learn it,” Ramaswamy explained. “My deal is, I’ll call her Nikki when she can say my own name right, and that’s our little fun side bet there.”
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Ramaswamy continued to add that he didn’t question Haley’s Christian faith, but rather questioned her “authenticity.”
Born Nimarata Randhawa to Sikh parents, Haley ended up converting from Sikhism to Christianity and began using her middle name, Nikki, according to NBC News.
“I think that’s deeper here,” Ramaswamy continued. “We were just talking about the trans issue, this is a symptom of a deeper cancer in American life: identity politics. This new religion that says your race, your gender and your sexuality are your identity. It is anti-American.”
Ramaswamy continued to compare Haley’s campaign launch video to having sounded like a “woke, Dylan Mulvaney Bud Light ad.”
“At the first debate, she said only a woman can get this job done. That’s what she said,” Ramaswamy continued. “After the third debate, when I criticized Ronna McDaniel after five failed years of leadership of this party and criticized Nikki for her corrupt foreign dealings as a military contractor, she said that I have a woman problem.”
As Ramaswamy addressed his comments to Haley he told her, “Nikki, I don’t have a woman problem. You have a corruption problem and I think that’s what people need to know,” as he held up a handmade sign with the words, “Nikki = Corrupt” written on it.