“She has no idea what the hell the names of those provinces are that she wants to send our sons and daughters and our troops and our military equipment to go fight in,” Ramaswamy argued.
Christie, who favors U.S. backing of Ukraine’s military initiatives, stepped in to support Haley and had a tense exchange with Ramaswamy.
“This is the fourth debate that you would be voted in the first 20 minutes as the most obnoxious blowhard in America, so shut up for a little while,” Christie said when Ramaswamy began to interrupt him. He accused Ramaswamy of “insult[ing] Nikki Haley’s basic intelligence, not her positions.”
Ramaswamy responded by saying that Christie similarly does not know which Ukrainian provinces he wants the United States to defend.
“Chris, your version of foreign policy experience was closing a bridge from New Jersey to New York,” Ramaswamy said. “So do everybody a favor — just walk yourself off that stage, enjoy a nice meal, and get the hell out of this race.”
Later in the debate, Ramaswamy accused Haley of being corrupt and held up a notepad with the phrase “Nikki = corrupt” on it. When given the option to respond, Haley declined.
At one point Ramaswamy was asked about remarks he made in September that appeared to criticize Haley’s decision for most of her life to go by “Nikki” rather than her given first name “Nimarata.” Haley’s parents are both Sikhs.
DeSantis and Christie are Catholic, while Ramaswamy is Hindu and Haley is Methodist.
“Are you questioning Nikki Haley’s Christian convictions?” moderator Eliana Johnson asked Ramaswamy.
“I don’t question her faith, but I question her authenticity,” Ramaswamy responded, going on to criticize Haley for what he said was her use of “identity politics” in her campaign.
Given a chance to rebut Ramaswamy’s remarks, Haley said: “It’s not worth my time to respond to him.”
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Most primary polls show Trump leading his opponents by nearly 50 points. The former president is polling about 60% with DeSantis polling at less than 15% and Haley polling around 10%. Ramaswamy is polling around 5% and Christie is polling around 2.5%.