Former President Trump weighed in on the recent Republican primary debate, taking shots at his 2024 rivals and declaring entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy the winner.
“So many people are asking what I thought of history’s lowest rated ‘presidential’ debate, & how would I rate the players. It’s so easy to be a critic, but who on this subject would be better than me,” he posted early Saturday morning on Truth Social.
“To begin with, I thought Ron DeSanctimonious was terrible, with his bobble head facial movements & his walking on eggs, but that Sloppy Chris Christie was worse. He’s not fit, mentally or physically, to be President plus, he suffers from TDS, or Trump Derangement Syndrome, at levels not seen before,” he wrote, calling the former New Jersey governor a “sick puppy” and criticizing his low poll numbers.
He continued, saying the campaign of former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson — who did not qualify for the debate earlier this week — dead.
“But so is Ron, whose weird bobbing head and fresh mouth, make his high heels look good — He’s walking on eggs! Birdbrain looked different & lost, but I give her second place,” he quipped, referring to former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
“Vivek WINS because he thinks l’m great,” the former president added.
The fourth GOP primary debate, held Wednesday in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and hosted by NewsNation, was the last one to be sanctioned by the Republican National Committee (RNC) in the primary cycle. NewsNation is owned by Nexstar Media Group, who also owns The Hill.
The committee announced Friday that they would not sponsor debates in 2024, and freed the candidates to participate in other forums.
Trump in his late night post also knocked debate moderator Megyn Kelly, calling her “the biggest loser” of the event.
“The biggest loser was Megyn Kelly, what the hell happened to her?” Trump said in his post. “She has lost whatever she once had, which wasn’t very much. Some things never change!”
Despite the former president’s praise, Ramaswamy has faced scrutiny over his performance in the debate earlier this week, in which he called Haley a “fascist” and claimed Christie’s “version of foreign policy experience was closing a bridge from New Jersey to New York.”
“Most of the people do not like the below-the-belt punches,” Republican strategist Scott Jennings said. “You know, too-cute-by-a-half rhetorical. You know, sneak attacks — whatever you want to call it. They just think it’s out of bounds, especially coming from him.”
Jennings noted that while Ramaswamy may have tried to act in the style of Trump, it did not work for him.
“Trump’s brand and image were so strong on the front end, that it gave him the latitude and credibility to engage with his opponents in some of the ways Vivek is — it’s just he doesn’t bring that to the race,” the strategist said, arguing that the millennial entrepreneur doesn’t have the “personal warmth and humor” of the former president.
Ramaswamy’s campaign has attempted to push back on the criticism.
“I think that if people actually saw Vivek on the campaign trail, which we put out tons of footage, it shows Vivek’s warm,” senior advisor for Ramaswamy’s campaign Tricia McLaughlin said.
“Vivek is gonna speak his convictions no matter what, and some people are gonna like it, and some people are gonna hate it,” she added later.