The second GOP presidential primary debate was Wednesday night and it involved a tremendous amount of crosstalk and interruptions as moderators struggled to gain control of the chaotic display.
One of the most memorable exchanges came when entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy attempted to lay out his plan to leverage the social media app TikTok in order to reach young voters.
While the Chinese-owned app has received significant backlash, largely from within the GOP, over its questionable acquisition of user data, Ramaswamy insisted that it is necessary for him to use it to spread his message.
“We’re only going to ever get to declaring independence from China, which I favor if we actually win,” he said. “So while the Democrats are running rampant, reaching the next generation three to one, there’s exactly one person in the Republican Party which talks a big game about reaching young people, and that’s me.”
He went on to emphasize that he would include “many of the people on the stage” in key positions within his administration if he is elected.
“That’s how I built my companies,” he asserted. “I want to be challenged. I want people who disagree with me. That’s what makes America great because we’re not a perfect nation. We’re founded on the pursuit of perfection. And that is what makes America great.”
Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley chimed in by channeling the 1995 comedy “Billy Madison” in response to Ramaswamy’s “infuriating” position on TikTok.
She called the platform “one of the most dangerous social media apps that we could have,” adding: “Every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say.”
Nikki Haley just went full Billy Madison on Vivek. pic.twitter.com/ghrfmpqiBU
— Joe (@joevezz) September 28, 2023
Haley asserted that TikTok can access a host of personal information about users, including emails, financial data, text messages, and contacts.
“They can get all these things,” she added. “China knows exactly what they’re doing.”
The former South Carolina governor then turned her attention back to Ramaswamy, whom she claimed was “in business with the Chinese that gave Hunter Biden $5 million.”
While touting his own use of TikTok to reach young adults, Ramaswamy expressed support for the prohibition of social media use for most minors.
“This isn’t a Republican point or a Democrat point,” he said. “But if you’re 16 years old or under, you should not be using an addictive social media product, period.”