Dec 7, 2023 - Politics & Policy

"Court jester": Fox News trashes Vivek Ramaswamy's debate theatrics

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Vivek Ramaswamy's theatrical, conspiracy-laden performance at Wednesday night's Republican debate exhilarated fringe elements of the online right, but drew outright disgust from conservative commentators on Fox News.

Why it matters: Ramaswamy's increasingly radical debate stunts have coincided with a slide in his favorability ratings. Polling criteria unveiled today for the next two debates — at least 10% in Iowa and New Hampshire — could threaten the viability of his candidacy over the next month.

Driving the news: In a heated interview with Ramaswamy on Fox & Friends Thursday morning, co-host Brian Kilmeade slammed the candidate's position on giving Ukrainian territory to Russia as "so naive."

  • "You know what's naive? Those who claim that Ukraine is a paragon of 'democracy' in a battle of good vs. evil," Ramaswamy shot back.
  • "Vivek was embarrassing. You know, he just came in too hot once again. He got booed a number of times," co-host Steve Doocy said earlier in the program.
  • "Worst debate performance in a long time," Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz tweeted after Ramaswamy held up a notepad that read "Nikki Haley = corrupt."
  • "It's frankly disappointing and unpalatable that we keep being subjected to what has, as I see, become behavior as a court jester," said "Outnumbered" co-host Emily Compagno.

The other side: Pro-Trump surrogates celebrated Ramaswamy's labeling of fellow GOP candidate Nikki Haley as a "fascist neocon." Notorious white nationalist Nick Fuentes encouraged Ramaswamy to run again in 2028 after the candidate endorsed the racist "great replacement theory" and suggested Jan. 6 was an "inside job."

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