OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Legacy Fox News host Sean Hannity took 2024 Republican presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy to task over a remark he made about GOP rival and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s comments about Hamas’ surprise attack against Israel last weekend.
In an appearance on Hannity’s program Thursday evening, the business entrepreneur pushed back when the host quoted him appearing to accuse Haley, who is also a former governor of South Carolina, of profiteering off the war.
Previously, in an interview with former Fox star Tucker Carlson on the X platform that was posted on Tuesday, Ramaswamy said, “It is wrong what happened to Israel, and I call that out as a human being and as somebody who’s on a belief of some people are on the right side and the wrong side of a conflict.
“But the selective nature of ignoring certain other conflicts, while even more importantly ignoring the interests of the U.S. right here at home is what irritates the heck out of me,” he continued, adding the dig about Haley.
“I don’t think she’s a child. I think that she is somebody that, like many politicians, is in a position to get wealthier from war,” he said.
After reviewing those comments, Hannity brought Ramaswamy onto the show.
“What you’re doing here is — saying about Nikki Haley, is you’re saying that her concern for Israel is driven by financial and a corrupting influence,” Hannity said. “And your explanation that there’s disproportionate focus on rape, kidnapping and murder of the Jewish people in this attack and they’re – and your quote, ‘that there are frankly financial and corrupting influences that lead them exactly to speak the way they do.’”
“Sean, that is a shameful mischaracterization,” Ramaswamy said.
“Hey, Vivek, wait a minute, stop right now,” Hannity interjected, referencing the candidate’s history of denying things he has said. “You do this in every single interview. You say stuff and then you deny it. You deny your own words. So, you know, why don’t you just own what you say and stand by it and stop playing these games?”
“Sean, I am owning what I said,” he responded before repeating his criticism of the “barbaric” attacks on Israel. “Where I differ from other candidates in this field is that I also believe that this is Israel’s decision to make. The U.S. should stand with Israel, but we need to be very careful not to enter a broader regional war in the Middle East.”
Hannity then returned to the remarks about Haley.
“I want an exact explanation for your exact comments that are there ‘frankly financial and corrupting influences that lead them exactly to speak the way that they do,’” Hannity pressed. “What are financial corrupting influences that Nikki Haley is taking a position on? We’ve got pictures of dead babies, decapitated, burned babies’ bodies. We’ve got the equivalent of what would be, population-wise, in the U.S., over 37,000 dead Americans. So, how much more evidence do you need? What are you talking about?!”
“You deny your own words!” Sean Hannity rips into Vivek Ramaswamy for once again saying something, then denying later he said it. (Video: Fox News) pic.twitter.com/WWKksJdFH0
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) October 13, 2023
As Ramaswamy attempted to dance around the issue, Hannity loudly interjected: “Answer the question!”
“Well, the fact of the matter is, I think anybody who has been a military contractor, anybody who has made $8 million including on serving on the board of Boeing collecting stock options while running for U.S. president on corporate boards, has made money for military contracting through a family business is disqualified from being the U.S. president in a time of war,” Ramaswamy responded. “I think we cannot see our march to World War III in this country.”
Indeed, Haley was a member of Boeing’s board of directors, but she resigned from the position in 2020 after serving a brief stint following her UN ambassadorship under then-President Donald Trump. Reports noted that, according to financial disclosures from earlier in the year, Haley owns as much as $250,000 in Boeing stock.
In addition to manufacturing civilian aircraft, Boeing is also one of the world’s biggest defense contractors.