Rising GOP star Vivek Ramaswamy made his debut on the debate stage Wednesday night, launching into a furious back-and-forth with former Vice President Mike Pence and calling Florida Governor Ron DeSantis a “PAC super puppet”.
He angered fellow Republicans in the primary by defending former President Donald Trump and proudly announcing he would cut funding for the war in Ukraine – prompting his rivals to declare him a “rookie”.
Ramaswamy, 38, highlighted his youth and his experience in building “multi-million dollar businesses”, while stressing that his rivals’ experience in government only hindered them.
Fox News’ Bret Baier asked him why voters should choose a “blank table” like him – someone who admitted to only voting in two presidential elections.
“So first let me address a question that’s on everyone’s minds at home tonight: who the hell is this skinny guy with a funny last name and what the hell is he doing in the middle of this phase? debate?” Ramaswamy said. “I’ll tell you I’m not a politician. Right. You’re right about that. I’m an entrepreneur.
Rising GOP star Vivek Ramaswamy (right) made his stage debut on Wednesday night, getting into a furious back-and-forth with former Vice President Mike Pence (left) and calling out the Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis (center) of ‘PAC Super Puppet’.
“Who the hell is this skinny guy with a funny last name and what the hell is he doing in the middle of this debate phase?” Vivek Ramaswamy said, introducing himself to the GOP voter base at the debate stage in Milwaukee.
Pence countered by asking the crowd if they wanted someone who needed “on-the-job training.”
Later in the debate, when asked about President Joe Biden’s 80-year-old age, old Pence reiterated that point, saying, “We don’t need a president who’s too old, we don’t need a ‘a president too young’.
“Joe Biden has weakened this country, both inside and out,” the former vice president said. “We don’t need to recruit a rookie.”
Pence had previously insisted that as a former vice president — as well as a former governor and congressman — he was the most experienced Republican candidate on the scene.
“There are people on this stage who don’t even want to talk about issues like Social Security and Medicare. I mean, Vivek, you said recently that a president can’t do everything. Well, I have news for you, Vivek. I’ve been in a hallway, I’ve been in the west wing. An American president must deal with every crisis America faces,” Pence said.
Ramaswamy suggested that past governors had not tried hard enough.
“It’s not that complicated, guys. Unleash American Energy. Drill, fracture, burn coal, go nuclear. Get people back to work and pay them more than to stay home,” he said.
“So I’m not sure I understand my predecessor’s comment exactly, I’ll let you all analyze that,” Ramaswamy said of Pence. “To me, it’s pretty simple, it’s something an American president can do with focus and I will get there.”
Pence chimed in, “Let me explain it to you…I’m taking it slow this time.”
Their fight ended when it was DeSantis’ turn to answer a question.
The Florida governor was highlighting his COVID record, when he used language he often uses on the campaign trail.
“You don’t take someone like Fauci and coddle him. You bring Fauci in, you sit them down, and you say, “Hey, Anthony, you’re fired,” DeSantis said.
This gave Ramaswamy the opportunity to spank DeSantis as well.
“Now that everyone has forgotten their memorized catchphrases, we can actually have a real chat now,” he said.
“Is it one of yours?” Pence asked.
“Not really Mike actually, we’re going to have fun tonight,” Ramaswamy retorted.
“And the reality is that you have a bunch of professional politicians, puppets of the super PACs, who follow the slogans that were given to them by their 400-page super PACs last week,” Ramaswamy continued.
He was referring to DeSantis’ super PAC, leaving a bunch of debate advice on the leading consultant’s website.
“The real choice we face in this primary is: Do you want a super PAC puppet or do you want a truth-telling patriot?” He asked. “Do you want gradual reform, as you hear about it, or do you want a revolution? »
Christie didn’t want any of that.
“I’ve already had enough tonight of a guy who looks like ChatGPT standing here,” the former New Jersey governor told the crowd. “The last person in one of those debates who stood in the middle of the stage and asked, ‘What’s a skinny guy with a weird last name doing here?’ was Barack Obama.
“And I’m afraid we’re dealing with the same type of amateur standing up on stage tonight,” Christie said.
Ramaswamy lashed out at Christie when the ex-governor condemned Trump’s conduct as “falling short of the office of President of the United States”.
“Let’s just tell the truth. Trump was the best president of the 21st century. Chris Christie, your claim that Donald Trump is driven by revenge and grievance would be more believable if your campaign wasn’t based on revenge and one-man grievance,” Ramaswamy said.
Christie once again hit out at the 38-year-old for his lack of experience.
“You never did, just as you never did anything to try to further the interests of this government, other than run as a candidate.” I was a United States Attorney and Governor. I’m not going to bow to anyone,” Chrisie said.
Former UN Ambassador. Nikki Haley sang a similar tune on Ramaswamy Greenery as they got into a heated exchange about the war on Ukraine.
“You have no foreign policy and it shows! she shouted at Ramaswamy when he indicated he would cut funding for the war effort in Ukraine.
“We don’t do this to friends,” she said. “You are choosing a murderer over a pro-American country,” pointing to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Haley was referring to the news of the day that Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin had been killed.
“I wish you well in your future careers on the boards of Lockheed and Raytheon,” Ramaswamy said.