Vivek Ramaswamy was a standout last month in the first Republican presidential debate. In the second debate on Wednesday, he was a target.
Nikki Haley, Tim Scott and even the typically mild-mannered former Vice President Mike Pence all took swipes at Mr. Ramaswamy, a 38-year-old entrepreneur and a political newcomer who has staked out some populist positions that defy traditional Republican ideology.
The attacks were broad and searing. Mr. Ramaswamy was hit on his business dealings with China, his pledges to cut off aid to Ukraine and even his presence on TikTok.
“Honestly, every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber,” Ms. Haley said, criticizing his use of TikTok.
In response to a question about why he disagreed with Mr. Ramaswamy’s pledge to end birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants, Mr. Scott turned to Mr. Ramaswamy’s last debate performance.
“We think about the fact that Vivek said we are all good people, and I appreciate that, because at the last debate he said we were all bought and paid for,” Mr. Scott said, adding that he did not understand how Mr. Ramaswamy could say that when he himself did business with the “Chinese Communist Party and the same people that funded Hunter Biden millions of dollars.”
Mr. Ramaswamy argued that he had pulled his company out of China when other C.E.O.s had not. But Mr. Pence dug in further, bringing up the fact that Mr. Ramaswamy had acknowledged he did not vote until relatively recently.
“Let me say, I’m glad Vivek pulled out of his business deal in 2018 in China,” Mr. Pence said. “That must’ve been around the time you decided to start voting in presidential elections.”