(WASHINGTON) — Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy lambasted each other at last week’s GOP presidential primary debate, and the feud is only getting fiercer.
The two have tangled over their names, foreign policy and more, with no end in sight.
Meanwhile, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez suspended his own presidential campaign Tuesday, making him the first presidential candidate of note to pull out of the race.
Here’s what you need to know from the campaign trail.
What’s in a name?
Haley and Ramaswamy made headlines at last week’s debate after they sparred over foreign policy — with Haley criticizing Ramaswamy for his lack of experience, and Ramaswamy returning fire by suggesting Haley is running to earn a seat on the board of a defense contractor.
The attacks have gotten more personal in the days since.
Ramaswamy launched the first volley of round two of the fight by addressing her by her government name on his newly launched “TRUTH. Over Myth” page.
“Keep lying, Nimarata Randhawa,” he said of Nikki Haley for criticizing his stance on Israel. She was born Nimarata Nikki Randhawa; Haley is her married name.
It’s unclear why Ramaswamy, who, like Haley, is Indian American, would use her legal name, though it could be part of an effort to cast her as inauthentic.
Haley Monday swatted away the remark, telling Fox News. “I’m not going to get into the childish name-calling or whatever, making fun of my name that he’s doing.”
“How is he making fun of her name? His name is Vivek Ramaswamy,” Ramaswamy campaign spokesperson Tricia McLaughlin told ABC News.
Haley returned fire again Tuesday, knocking him on his remarks and his foreign policy on Israel after he said he would usher in further peace deals with other historically hostile nations while pulling back on U.S. support for Jerusalem by 2028.
“@VivekGRamaswamy’s attacks & desperate attempts at damage control don’t change how he treats our friend Israel & how his dangerous policies make America less safe. Israel faces genocidal threats from Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, & Syria. Our next president must understand that,” Haley wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Vivek said we should abandon Israel after 2028. Those are HIS words.”
Ramaswamy previously told actor and activist Russell Brand that he wants “to get Israel to the place where it is negotiated back into the infrastructure of the rest of the Middle East” and that “there’s no North Star of commitment to any one country other than the United States of America.”
His website now reads, “By the end of Vivek’s first term, the US-Israel relationship will be deeper and stronger than ever because it won’t be a client relationship, it will be a true friendship,” and that he wouldn’t cut aid to Israel “until Israel tells the U.S. that it no longer needs the aid” because “that’s what true friends do.”
Miami mayor takes the heat
Suarez announced Tuesday he’s suspending his campaign, ending a bid that never fully got off the ground and did not get enough polling support to qualify for the first debate last week.
“While I have decided to suspend my campaign for President, my commitment to making this a better nation for every American remains,” Suarez wrote on X.
“I look forward to keeping in touch with the other Republican presidential candidates and doing what I can to make sure our party puts forward a strong nominee who can inspire and unify the country, renew Americans’ trust in our institutions and in each other, and win.”
Suarez had previously said that he had qualified for the first debate last week and that anyone who didn’t qualify should drop out of the race. However, the Republican National Committee ended up saying that Suarez did not meet its polling threshold, keeping him off the debate stage.
Suarez, whose job as Miami mayor is largely symbolic and powerless, consistently polled in the low single digits, if he registered at all.
X marks the spot (for political ads)
X announced Tuesday that it will allow political ads back on the platform for the first time since 2019.
X said it was allowing the ads back to support “people’s right to accurate and safe political discourse,” but insisted guardrails would remain on what could be posted on the platform.
“This will include prohibiting the promotion of false or misleading content, including false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in an election, while seeking to preserve free and open political discourse,” the company said in a blog post.
X said it will also beef up its safety and elections teams to curtail the reach of manipulated media and fake accounts. It didn’t offer details on what the teams’ expansion would look like.
X head Elon Musk has faced backlash for removing some moderation procedures, which critics have said has allowed more hate speech on the platform, and allowing previously banned figures such as former President Donald Trump back on the platform.
The age-old question
Democrats have publicly and privately fretted that voters think President Joe Biden is too old for a second term — and a new poll confirms they have something to worry about.
Seventy-seven percent of Democrats under age 45 and 62% of Democrats over 45 said they believe Biden is too old to serve a second term, according to a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll. And in a sign of waning enthusiasm by younger voters, only 34% of Democrats under the age of 45 want Biden to run at all.
And when all adults surveyed were asked for the first word they think of when they think of Biden, 26% cited his age, and another 15% mentioned words associated with being slow and confused.
Biden, 80, is only three years older than Trump, his likeliest general election opponent, yet voters don’t view Trump’s age as big of an issue.
But the poll isn’t all roses for Trump.
When asked for the first word that came to voters’ minds when thinking about Trump, 23% mentioned words associated with corruption, crime, lying or untrustworthiness.
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