March 3, 2024
GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy held up a sign during a debate Wednesday night that said "Nikki = Corrupt" which immediately caused a social media firestorm.

GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy sparked a social media firestorm during the last primary debate on Wednesday when he held up a sign that said “Nikki=Corrupt” in reference to his opponent, Nikki Haley.

“I don’t have a woman problem,” Ramaswamy told Haley as part of an attack criticizing her work in the military contracting sector after her time as ambassador. “You have a corruption problem and I think that that’s what people need to know. Nikki is corrupt.” 

As Ramaswamy was saying that, he pulled out a sign that had been sitting on the podium that read, “Nikki=Corrupt.”


Vivek Haley

Vivek Ramaswamy holds up sign at GOP primary debate (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

“This is a woman who will send your kids to die so she can buy a bigger house,” Ramaswamy added.

When asked by a moderator if she wanted to respond to Ramaswamy’s claim, Haley said, “No. It’s not worth my time to respond to him.”

Social media quickly erupted with reactions with some seemingly in disbelief Ramaswamy attacked Haley in that way.

“OMG,” Hot Air associate editor Karen Townsend posted on X. “Vivek holds up a paper that reads “Nikki is corrupt.”

“Vivek just ended Nikki Haley,” Citizen Free Press posted on X.

Conservative commentator Charlie Kirk called the exchange “one of the most noteworthy moments of the night.”

Others pointed out that Ramaswamy’s sign was likely to become a meme in the future.

“Something tells me that when I wake up tomorrow, Vivek’s notepad will have been used in about 3,742 different memes,” radio host Larry O’Connor posted on X. “Please post your favorites here…”

“Vivek is the only one who shows up to these debates ready to create a viral moment or meme,” chef Andrew Gruel posted on X. “A 4th primary debate isn’t going to change the numbers so why not go wild?”

Not everyone on social media was amused by the viral moment including many who pointed out that some boos could be heard in the audience.


Fourth Republican presidential debate

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Republican presidential candidate and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy stand at their podiums ahead of the fourth Republican candidates’ debate (REUTERS/Alyssa Pointer)

“Vivek holds up pad saying Nikki Corrupt,” Fox News host Howard Kurtz posted on X. “Gets booed. Worst debate performance in a long time. Haley wisely declined to rebut him: Not worth my time.”

“I cannot believe that Vivek Ramaswamy held up a little homemade sign accusing Nikki Haley of being corrupt,” journalist Maria Shriver posted on X. “So childish. Wow.”

Ramaswamy responded to the boos in real time accusing those booing of being donor “puppet masters” for Haley. 

Ramaswamy’s team stood by his move in a social media post shortly after he held up the sign with a list of jobs and income from Haley’s past along with the message: “The math doesn’t add up. Nikki Haley = Corrupt.”


Nikki Haley Moms for Liberty Philadelphia

2024 presidential candidate Nikki Haley gives remarks at Moms for Liberty’s Joyful Warriors National Summit in Philadelphia on June 30, 2023. (Fox News Photo/Joshua Comins)

Fox News Digital reached out to the Haley campaign but did not immediately receive a response.