Vivek Ramaswamy asked Nikki Haley to name three provinces in eastern Ukraine.
The fourth Republican presidential debate in Alabama had a narrowed field, with only Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, and Vivek Ramaswamy taking the stage. The event, hosted by NewsNation and moderated by Megyn Kelly, Elizabeth Vargas, and Eliana Johnson, showed entrepreneur Ramaswamy challenging fellow candidate Haley on her knowledge of Ukraine.
During a discussion on the conflict with Russia, Ramaswamy asked Haley to name three provinces in eastern Ukraine. Haley, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, seemed unable to name even one province. The camera held its focus on Haley, where her expression remained impassive.
“Look at that,” Ramaswamy exclaimed. “This is what I want people to understand. 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 troops and our military equipment to go fight it. Look at the blank expression. She doesn't know the names of the provinces that she wants to fight for,” he added.
Ramaswamy underlined the distinction between foreign policy experience and foreign policy wisdom, stating that “it is not the same". He drew a parallel between Joe Biden and Nikki Haley, pointing out that “neither of them could even state for you three provinces in eastern Ukraine that they want to send our troops to fight for.”
Later, the entrepreneur wrote on X, formerly Twitter, “I made a bet that @NikkiHaley couldn't even name just three regions of eastern Ukraine that she wants to send America's sons & daughters to die fighting for. Turns out, I was right.”
“Ended her career,” one user commented under Ramaswamy's post.
Another user wrote, “The phrase ‘deer in the headlights' comes to mind looking at her. Nice work Vivek!”
“Wrecked. I mean this debate is pure gold,” another comment read.
Despite the initial difficulty, Nikki Haley eventually managed to answer Vivek Ramaswamy's question by naming the three provinces as “Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea”. (Crimea is no longer part of Ukraine, as it was annexed by Russia in 2014.)
But Ramaswamy strongly criticised Nikki Haley accusing her of fascism and questioning her intelligence. When allowed to respond, Haley chose not to, stating, “It's not worth my time to respond to him.”
Republican Chris Christie, who has known Nikki Haley for 12 years, also came to her defence against Ramaswamy's attack. Christie called out Ramaswamy for questioning Haley's intelligence, stating, "This is a smart, accomplished woman, and you stop insulting her," while pointing directly at Ramaswamy.
With the primary elections approaching, the four candidates aimed to stand out on stage, but none emerged as a clear winner.