Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took the stage on Wednesday, and the smaller field allowed more heated encounters. Here are some of the night’s best zingers.
“She has no idea what the hell the names of those provinces are.”
Ramaswamy questioned Haley’s knowledge of foreign affairs.
“Foreign policy experience is not the same as foreign policy wisdom,” Ramaswamy said. “I want everybody at home to know that I was the first person to say we need a reasonable peace deal in Ukraine. Now a lot of the neocons are quietly coming along to that position, with the exceptions of Nikki Haley and Joe Biden who still support this — what I believe is a pointless war in Ukraine. … One thing that Joe Biden and Nikki Haley have in common is that neither of them could even state for you three provinces in eastern Ukraine that they want to send our troops to actually fight for.”
Ramaswamy paused for a moment, ostensibly to give Haley time to prove him wrong, then doubled down when she remained silent.
“Look at that. This is what I want people to understand. These people have … I mean, she has no idea what the hell the names of those provinces are, but she wants to send our sons and daughters … and our military equipment to go fight it. So reject this myth that they’ve been selling you that somebody had a cup of coffee stint at the U.N. and that makes 8 million bucks after has real foreign policy experience. It takes an outsider to see this through. … Look at the blank expression. She doesn’t know the names of the provinces that she wants to actually fight for.”
“The most obnoxious blowhard in America.”
After Ramaswamy’s zinger about Haley, Christie stepped in to her defense, hitting back at Ramaswamy’s views on Ukraine. As he began to push back, Christie let his full feelings be known about the entrepreneur.
“This is the fourth debate, the fourth debate that you would be voted, in the first 20 minutes, as the most obnoxious blowhard in America,” Christie said to applause from much of the audience.
He then furthered his defense of Haley, taking issue with Ramaswamy’s criticisms of the former U.N. ambassador.
“We’re now 25 minutes into this debate and he has insulted Nikki Haley’s basic intelligence, not her positions, her basic intelligence,” Christie continued. “This is a smart, accomplished woman. You should stop insulting her.”
Ramaswamy responded with his own zinger, jabbing at Christie’s weight, telling him, “Do everybody a favor, just walk yourself off that stage, enjoy a nice meal, and get the hell out of this race.”
“In terms of these donors that are supporting me, they’re just jealous.”
Haley came under fire from both DeSantis and Ramaswamy over her relationship to big money donors, with the two accusing her of serving moneyed interests. The former U.N. ambassador jabbed back by explaining her relationship with her donors and saying the criticism stemmed from jealousy.
“[Boeing was] a great partner to me. I served for 10 months, and then when they decided, after COVID, that they wanted to go for a corporate bailout — I’ve never supported corporate bailout — so I respectfully stepped back and got off the board,” she said.
“I love Boeing. They build good commercial airplanes. They build airplanes for the Air Force. I am proud of them,” she added. “They employ a lot of people in South Carolina, but that’s why I left the Boeing board. There’s nothing to what he’s saying. And in terms of these donors that are supporting me, they’re just jealous. They wish that they were supporting them.”
“I’m usually not somebody who gets missed.”
After an impassioned, lengthy exchange between DeSantis, Ramaswamy, and Haley, Christie appeared absent from the cameras. He acknowledged this fact and poked fun at his own stature after moderator Megyn Kelly sought to bring him into the conversation.
“I’m usually not someone who gets missed, but OK, let’s go,” he said to laughter.