Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy on Wednesday at the fourth Republican presidential debate had a memorable exchange with fellow candidate former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Nikki Haley when he challenged her over her support for Ukraine, asking her to name three provinces in eastern Ukraine. She appeared not to know offhand.
“Foreign policy experience is not the same as foreign policy wisdom,” he began. “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 neo-cons are quietly coming along with that position, with the exceptions of Nikki Haley and Joe Biden, who still support this – what I believe is pointless war in Ukraine,” he said.
“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,” he added, before mocking her for having a “blank expression” on her face. Ramaswamy went on to say:
She has no idea what the hell the names of those provinces are, but she wants to send our sons and daughters and our troops 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 UN and then 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,” he ended, before other candidates began talking over him.
He later posted the moment on his X account.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie leapt to Haley’s defense, criticizing Ramaswamy’s plan to end the war, and calling him an “obnoxious blowhard.” He then slammed him for criticizing Haley’s “basic intelligence.”
“This is a smart, accomplished woman and you should stop insulting her,” Christie said. Ramaswamy then accused Christie of not knowing three provinces either and not having any foreign policy experience.
“Chris, your version of foreign policy experience is closing a bridge from New Jersey to New York,” he responded, before telling Christie to “go have a nice meal.”
Ramaswamy then went on to slam “intellectual fraud” by those who advocate war but do not know where they want to send troops.
“Name the provinces!” he asked again, to which Haley responded, “Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea.” Ramaswamy took issue with Crimea, which Russia forcibly annexed in 2014, but which Ukraine still claims.
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