Nikki Haley Hits Back at Vivek Ramaswamy for Using Her Indian Name in Attack: He ‘Should Know Better’

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Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley responded to Vivek Ramaswamy using her Indian name in an attack posted on his website.

During the first primary debate last week, Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy traded barbs over foreign policy, specifically on the issue of Russia’s war in Ukraine and the U.S. special partnership with Israel. On Monday, Ramaswamy’s campaign website published an attack against Haley by referring to her as “lying Namrata.”

“WRONG. Keep lying, Namrata (sic) Randhawa. The desperation is showing,” the post read before it was updated.

Vivek Ramaswamy, chairman and co-founder of Strive Asset Management and 2024 Republican presidential candidate, left, and Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations and 2024 Republican presidential candidate, during the Republican primary presidential debate hosted by Fox News in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US, on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023. Republican presidential contenders are facing off in their first debate of the primary season, minus frontrunner Donald Trump, who continues to lead his GOP rivals by a double-digit margin. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Vivek Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley during the Republican primary presidential debate hosted by Fox News in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Though Haley is of Indian descent (like Ramaswamy), her legal middle name is Nikki and she adopted her husband’s surname Haley after the two married in 1996. Her full birth name is Nimarata Nikki Randhawa. In 2021, USA Today published a defense of Nikki Haley’s name amid attacks that she somehow “whitewashed” it to get ahead in politics:

Haley’s use of her middle name as a first name predates her political career. Haley has gone by “Nikki” ever since she was born, Haley spokesperson Chaney Denton told USA TODAY.

A 2010 Roll Call article echoed this, noting she was known as Nikki throughout high school even though her yearbook photo listed her full name: “Nimarata Nikki Randhawa.”

While it’s a common nickname for women named “Nichole” in the United States, “Nikki” is also a common Punjabi name, the region in India her parents migrated from.

“I’m not going to get into the childish name-calling or whatever, making fun of my name that he’s doing,” Haley told Fox News. “I mean, he of all people should know better than that. But I’ve given up on him knowing better than anything at this point.”

“I think we saw the childish, demeaning side of him onstage. I think he’s carrying that out whether it’s on the website or otherwise, but I have no use for it,” she continued.

A spokesperson for the Ramaswamy campaign denied that the post had any intention of making fun of her name. “How is he making fun of her name? His name is Vivek Ramaswamy,” the spokesperson said.

Matt Whitlock, a former spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, charged the Ramaswamy campaign with essentially framing Nikki Haley as a traitor to her ethnic origins.

“I just can’t get over team Vivek attacking Nikki Haley’s name. This attack usually comes from lunatics (on the left or right) accusing her of whitewashing her identity and hiding her heritage. (Who are too stupid to google it and realize Nikki is her actual birth name),” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Paul Roland Bois joined Breitbart News in 2021. He also directed the award-winning feature film, EXEMPLUM, which can be viewed for FREE on YouTube or Tubi. A high-quality, ad-free stream can also be purchased on Google Play or Vimeo on Demand. Follow him on Twitter @prolandfilms or Instagram @prolandfilms.

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