One of the biggest moments from last week’s first Republican presidential debate appeared to echo a similar moment that occurred during a primary debate in the 2016 election cycle.
Political outsider Vivek Ramaswamy turned heads at the Fox News debate Wednesday during a discussion whether human behavior creates climate change.
“I’m the only person on this stage who isn’t bought and paid for,” Ramaswamy declared.
That comment elicited intense boos from the audience and sparked a line of attacks from former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
However, to some viewers, that exchange was reminiscent of one then-candidate Donald Trump had with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at a primary debate in February 2016.
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Vivek Ramaswamy was loudly booed for claiming his rivals at the first Republican presidential debate were all “bought and paid for.” (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Bush went after Trump over an accusation that the celebrity billionaire attempted to use eminent domain to take property from an elderly woman in Atlantic City, New Jersey, something he denied.
As Trump was giving his response knocking Bush as being a “tough guy,” Bush interrupted and asked, “How tough is it take property from an elderly woman?”
“Quiet,” Trump scolded Bush while lifting his finger over his mouth.
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Like Ramaswamy, that fueled loud boos from the audience. However, then Trump took aim at the booers themselves.
“That’s all of his donors and special interests out there, it’s what it is,” Trump pointed at the audience, invoking a laugh from Bush.
Then-candidate Donald Trump, right, had an intense spat with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, left, during a GOP primary debate in 2016. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Trump then accused the RNC of only allotting tickets for the debate to “donors” and “special interests.”
“And by the way, let me just tell you- we needed tickets. You can’t get them. You know who has the tickets? I’m talking about — to the television audience — donors, special interests, the people that are putting up the money,” Trump said, which elicited even more boos.
“The RNC told us we have all donors in the audience and the reason — excuse me,” Trump scolded the audience for the ongoing booing. “The reason they’re not loving me is I don’t want their money. I’m gonna do the right thing for the American public. I don’t want their money, I don’t need their money, and I’m the only one up here who can say that.”
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Then-candidate Donald Trump received loud boos for asserting the audience was filled with “donors” and “special interests” at the GOP presidential debate in February 2016. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The 2016 debate spat resurfaced after the first GOP showdown of the 2024 presidential primary race, inspiring many on social media to agree that the two moments sound similar — some called it “deja vu.”
Ramaswamy himself shared the clip with his followers on X, formerly known as Twitter.