OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The set of the Fox News show “Hannity” was chaotic as the host and his guest, Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, got into a heated argument and it did not end there.
It started last week when the candidate was interviewed by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson about the terrorist attacks in Israel by Hamas.
“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,” he said to the former Fox News host. “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 was talking about Republican presidential rival and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley who he insinuated would benefit financially from a war.
“I don’t think she’s a child,” the candidate said. “I think that she is somebody that like many politicians in a position to get wealthier from war.”
When he appeared on Hannity’s show on Thursday the host took him to task for the comments and it got heated quickly.
“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,” the host 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 hit back.
“Hey, Vivek, wait a minute, stop right now,” the host said before going on to reference Ramaswamy’s history of denying things he has said in previous interviews.
“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?” the host said.
“Sean, I am owning what I said,” the candidate said. “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.”
“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,’” the host said. “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?!”
Ramaswamy did not directly answer the question which led Hannity to shout “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. I think we cannot see our march to World War III in this country,” the candidate said.
Haley resigned from the board of Boeing in 2020 and financial records show she owns around $250,000 in stock in the company.
After the interview, Ramaswamy went on X, formerly Twitter, and called Hannity “fake news.”
“For years, @seanhannity has railed against ‘fake news.’ I guess he’s become it. My comments about lobbyists were about Azerbaijan, not Israel. This interview was sponsored by @NikkiHaley,” he said.
In another post, he mentioned Hannity’s quote in which he said, “I think people that never held public office like you maybe they’re not qualified to be President.”
“(Hannity) would have disqualified 2016 Donald Trump, who would go on to become the greatest president of the 21st Century. I’m the new outsider and the Establishment is flailing and will try to prop up their flavor-of-the month puppet: last month (DeSantis), (Nikki) this month. If you strike the swamp, the swamp strikes back,” he said.