Nikki Haley’s Unkindest Cut: Mocks Fellow Indian American Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy
- Shunning boisterous rallies that Trump favors, the former South Carolina governor is focussing on retail politics and fundraising, impressively at that.
Even as former president Donald Trump sucks up the media oxygen with his indictment drama, Nikki Haley, who is the first Republican to officially jump into the presidential race, is quietly going about her business. Unlike Trump who likes to hold big rallies, Haley is focused on retail politics — meeting people, pressing the flesh, and engaging voters in small gatherings — just the way it has been traditionally done in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire. She held 20 events in the last six weeks, according to news reports.
Her low-key approach is paying off against Trump chaos, at least insofar as fundraising is concerned, if not in poll numbers. She is still polling in single digits. In the first six weeks since her announcement, however, she has raised an impressive $11 million in small donations from all over the country, her campaign said in a news release.
Haley’s campaign raised more than nearly all the 2016 GOP candidates in their first quarter — and more than Trump in the first quarter of this cycle, Axios reported. It is not known how much Trump has raised.
While most undeclared candidates who are waiting to get into the race are wary of openly taking on Trump, Haley has been making not-so-subtle digs against her former boss, in a bid to consolidate support from never-Trumpers in the Republican party.
Even as she decried Trump’s indictment by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, her campaign manager, Betsy Ankney trolled the front runner saying, “Donald Trump had a pretty good Q1, if you count being indicted as ‘good.’”
In a campaign memo obtained by Axios, Ankney said “it’s increasingly clear that Trump’s candidacy is more consumed by the grievances of the past and the promise of more drama in the future, rather than a forward-looking vision for the American people.”
The memo also had a caustic comment about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been polling much better than Haley, saying that he is “not ready for prime time” — in a reference to his recent fumbles on Ukraine. He recently characterized the Russia-Ukraine war as a “territorial dispute,” much to the chagrin of the party ranks, before walking back.
That gave the Haley campaign an opening to question DeSantis’ foreign policy credentials and highlight the diplomatic chops she acquired as U.S. ambassador to the UN in the previous administration.
As for other declared Republican candidates, particularly Vivek Ganapathy Ramaswamy, Ankney wrote, “Wait, what others?”
It might sound like the unkindest cut against a fellow Indian American rival, but the fact remains that Ramaswamy’s candidacy has not gotten any traction, except on Fox News, where he makes his regular cameos.
A political neophyte, the 37-year-old Ramaswamy emerged on the national stage after publishing his book “Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam,” which criticizes political correctness and identity politics in the corporate world.