Vivek Ramaswamy has been accused of employing a racist dog whistle by using former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s maiden name on his website.
Alyssa Farah Griffin, once the director of strategic communications in Donald Trump’s White House and now a TV pundit, wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter: “Of course, Vivek is referring to Nikki Haley by her maiden name – Namrata Randhawa – on his website.”
“Reminder: Nikki is her name on her birth certificate & this is a dog whistle. Crazy to see it coming from a fellow Indian American,” she added.
Ms Haley was born Nimarata Nikki Randhawa to immigrant parents who were Sikhs from Punjab, one of the northernmost states in India. She married Michael Haley in 1996.
On his site, Mr Ramaswamy bashes Ms Haley for claiming that he doesn’t support Israel.
“WRONG. Keep lying, Nimarata Randhawa. The desperation is showing,” the site states. “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.
“The centerpiece of Vivek’s Middle East policy in Year 1 will be to lead ‘Abraham Accords 2.0’ which will fully integrate Israel into the Middle East economy – by adding Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Indonesia to the pact which was one of President Trump’s crowning foreign policy achievements.
“Vivek will also partner with Israel to ensure that Iran never acquires nuclear capabilities. That’s a hard *never.*”
During the first GOP primary debate on 23 August, Mr Ramaswamy and Ms Haley clashed over foreign policy, with the former UN Ambassador and South Carolina governor slamming the entrepreneur over his lack of experience.
Mr Ramaswamy replied mockingly to Ms Haley, wishing her “well in your future career on the boards of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon” – two of the largest US defence companies.
The legislative director for Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman, Tré Easton, tweeted: “Part of the reason I think Nikki Haley clearly hates Vivek is because she was planning to do the whole ‘I’m a brown person who says dog whistle racist stuff’ bit, but Vivek does it better.”
“So let’s see if I can get this right. A GOP candidate (of Indian heritage) is going to call out another GOP candidate (of Indian heritage) in a way that seems racially derogatory. But, also use the incorrect name? For reference: Her full birth name is Nimarata Nikki Randhawa,” another Twitter user said.
“This was a loud troll during the New York Young Republican Club’s debate watch party last week. At least one person kept yelling ‘what’s your REAL name, Nikki!’”Kadia Goba of Semafor noted.