Inside The Deep Rivalry Between Nikki Haley And Vivek Ramaswamy

Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy are both running to be the Republican candidate for president in 2024, and they're both American-born children of Indian immigrants. And in the field of Republican presidential hopefuls, if you count out Donald Trump, the two seem to have clashed the most. For months, on his campaign website in a section about whether or not Ramaswamy supports Israel, he wrote, seemingly as a dig, "Keep lying, Nimarata Randhawa." Haley publicly goes by her middle name (Nikki) and her married name (Haley). It's not quite clear what Ramaswamy is looking to accomplish, but it seems like a clear slight. Haley noticed, and she explained to Fox News Digital, "I'm not going to get into the childish name-calling or whatever, making fun of my name that he's doing."

Their fighting has been the most aggressive on the presidential debate stage. At the second Republican presidential debate, Ramaswamy talked about joining TikTok despite having previously called it "digital fentanyl." Of Ramaswamy's stance on TikTok, which Haley has decried as a tool that could enable China to spy on U.S. citizens, Haley said, "honestly every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say."

And Ramaswamy didn't seem to forget that swipe. At the third Republican presidential debate, Haley and Ramaswamy really went at it, with the entrepreneur talking about one of Haley's children during the third Republican presidential debate during a discussion about TikTok, which got a fiery response. Here's what went down.

Vivek Ramaswamy made fun of Nikki Haley's heels

Vivek Ramaswamy brought up the TikTok conversation again in the third debate, saying that Haley had "made fun of him for actually joining TikTok while her own daughter was actually using the app for a long time. So you might want to take care of your family first before preaching to anyone else." Haley snapped back with, "Leave my daughter out of your voice [...] you're just scum," via NBC News. He got boos from the audience, and it definitely had a Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars vibe.

Ramaswamy later defended bringing up Nikki Haley's daughter during the debate. He said the former South Carolina governor was "sanctimoniously lecturing the rest of the country about the perils of it while actually failing to set an example of leadership," via CNN.

The TikTok drama wasn't the only time they got digs at each other during the third debate. Ramaswamy referred to Haley as "Dick Cheney in three-inch heels," (and he seemingly took a dig at Ron DeSantis' fashion choices with the quip as well) via NBC News. She clapped back with "first, they're five-inch heels, and I don't wear them unless you can run in them." Then when the debate came to an end, the two shook hands with their other competitors but not with each other. Yikes! There's clearly no love lost between those two!

Vivek Ramaswamy is a political newcomer compared to Nikki Haley

Indian American clinical psychologist Jyothsna Bhat told NBC News that their shared heritage as children of Indian immigrants could mean that they see each other as a particularly unique threat. "It hits differently when it's South Asian individuals because of that mentality of there's just not enough room for the two," Bhat said.

Even though they have a shared heritage, they have some big differences in their backgrounds, particularly when it comes to politics. 51-year-old Nikki Haley is a former governor of South Carolina, and she was appointed by Donald Trump to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She served in that position until the end of 2018, and Haley had previously said she wouldn't be running for president in 2024 if Trump ran, but clearly, she changed her mind. Trump loomed large over Haley's presidential campaign video announcement, and in her first speech as a candidate, she said, "we are more than ready for a new generation to lead us into the future," via NBC News.

As for 38-year-old Vivek Ramaswamy, he comes from a decidedly non-political background. He went to Yale Law School and is a multi-millionaire who founded his own biotech company. He entered the presidential race after having been inspired by Donald Trump's unorthodox win as a political outsider in 2016. We'll have to see if and how their attacks continue in the next debate.