Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley Clash in Heated Presidential Debate Over TikTok

The tension reached a boiling point when Haley used a derogatory term after Ramaswamy brought up her daughter during the debate held in Miami

Things got heated at the third presidential primary debate featuring Indian-American Republican candidates. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy went head-to-head in a fierce and dramatic exchange.

The tension reached a boiling point when Haley used a derogatory term after Ramaswamy brought up her daughter during the debate held in Miami.

Vivek Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley

So, what was all the fuss about? The heart of the matter was the U.S. policy on TikTok, the popular social media app, and whether it should be banned because it's owned by a Chinese company. Ramaswamy, who is 38 years old, took aim at Haley for criticizing him in a previous debate for using TikTok while her own daughter had been using the app. This set off Haley, who told Ramaswamy to leave her daughter out of the conversation and eventually resorted to name-calling.

The drama didn't end on the debate stage. It spilled over onto social media, where Haley continued to criticize Ramaswamy. But her online strategy backfired, with many users calling her response "cringeworthy."

This recent clash between the two candidates followed a previous face-off in which Haley questioned Ramaswamy's foreign policy knowledge. In return, Ramaswamy's campaign accused Haley of spreading falsehoods to raise more campaign funds.

Name Game

The rift deepened as both candidates slung accusations at each other. Haley accused Ramaswamy of lacking foreign policy experience, while Ramaswamy used a different name, 'Namrata Randhawa,' to refer to Haley, a move she dismissed as a "childish name game."

While the two rivals continued their war of words, a recent survey by the Des Moines Register showed that Haley's popularity was on the rise, putting her on equal footing with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. In contrast, Ramaswamy struggled to make headway against former President Donald Trump, who still commanded a strong lead in the polls.

The two-hour debate, hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, featured three more candidates: former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.

In a noteworthy twist, former President Donald Trump chose not to attend the debate. Instead, he held a rally in Hialeah, Florida, close to the debate location in Miami. Trump's absence underscored his continued dominance in the polls and the ever-competitive landscape of the GOP primaries.