Haley defends past praise of Ramaswamy: ‘Things he’s saying’ on campaign trail are ‘very different’

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley defended her past praise of fellow White House hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy, arguing the things the biotech entrepreneur is saying on the campaign trail are “very different” than in the past.

The comment comes as the pair continues to clash in heated debates on issues including foreign policy, TikTok and Ramaswamy’s relationship with China.

Haley’s sharp criticism of Ramaswamy strikes a starkly different tone from a blurb she wrote in his 2021 book “Woke Inc.,” in which she said the biotech entrepreneur “urges us to lift up all Americans rather than to pit ourselves against one another. His combination of honesty, intellect, and foresight are exactly what we need to overcome our challenges in the years ahead.”

Pressed by “Fox New Sunday” anchor Shannon Bream over her words, Haley said, “I think I always praise people when they deserve to be praised, and I hit people when they deserve to be hit. The book that he wrote, I supported it. I helped him, he asked me for help in it.”

“But I think that things he’s saying now as he’s running for president are very different than that,” Haley said.

The conflict between the two candidates took center stage last week during the second GOP primary debate, where they squared off over Ramaswamy’s use of TikTok, which is banned on government-issued devices because of its ties with the Chinese government.

Maintaining that children younger than 16 should not be using “addictive” social media, Ramaswamy argued social media can be a tool for reaching young people in elections.

Haley fired back, saying, “I honestly, every time I hear you, I feel a bit dumber for what you say,” and that “we can’t trust” him.

The pair later sparred over Ramaswamy’s foreign policy stance, in which he argued just because Russian President Vladimir Putin “is an evil dictator does not mean that Ukraine is good.”

Haley, a strong supporter of U.S. aid to Ukraine, repeated her argument that a “win for Russia is a win for China.” In the first GOP primary debate, Haley called out Ramaswamy for his lack of foreign policy experience, telling him he “has no foreign policy experience and it shows.”

Tags 2024 GOP primary 2024 GOP primary debate 2024 presidential election Nikki Haley Shannon Bream Vivek Ramaswamy Vladimir Putin