Vivek Ramaswamy: Unraveling His Controversial Past
As of this posting, 13 people are running to be the 2024 Republican Presidential nominee. Of course, few of them seem to have much chance, with Trump still being the favorite. While Ron Desantis’s campaign appeared to have some promise, it seems to be struggling. However, one nominee has been getting attention recently: Vivek Ramaswamy, a name you may not have heard of until the recent debate in August when he had a popularity surge.
Ramaswamy made himself the center of attention in the debate, with many Republicans seeing him as a much younger Trump and an alternative if Trump cannot run. This 38-year-old Millennial candidate is the youngest running, a breath of fresh air from the much older candidates. He takes advantage of the bully pulpit and is nearly a billionaire thanks to his biotech firm.
But can Ramaswamy win, or is his campaign falling under scrutiny?
A History of Non-Politics?
Ramaswamy announced his campaign on February 21, 2023. Besides his biotech and healthcare entrepreneurship, Ramaswamy is the author of two books, Woke, Inc. and Nation of Victims, released in 2021 and 2022, respectively, with conservative messaging. Despite being a younger candidate, one may expect him to have a long history of involvement in the political world.
However, Ramaswamy claimed he had been apolitical before 2020, being “disillusioned with partisan politics.” In 2016, he claimed he didn’t vote in the election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. He claims to have become politically involved in 2020, during COVID-19 and the George Floyd incident, where he said he felt pressure to make a statement about it as a CEO.
However, at 18, Vivek was just old enough to be involved in the 2004 Presidential election, where he voted for the Libertarian candidate. However, he seems to have been involved with Democrats as well, with a video resurfacing of a young Ramaswamy asking candidate Al Sharpton, best known for being a civil rights activist, why people should vote for Sharpton when he has the least political experience.
As you may have expected, this statement has come full circle, as many question Ramaswamy’s experience. While many candidates have been called inexperienced and eventually won, such as Trump or even Obama, Ramaswamy only seemed politically involved when he was 18 and then had nearly 20 years of inactivity, which is just one of the many anomalies people are pointing out.
Vivek Ramaswamy on January 6 and the 2020 Election
Ramaswamy said that he would pardon all peaceful January 6 protesters if elected. He has also made comments that have implied that federal agents were heavily involved in January 6 and that Mike Pence handled January 6 weakly, missing a chance to bring America together by introducing legislation to change voting laws.
While Ramaswamy does not fully endorse January 6 and the belief that the election was stolen, he appears to lean into it much more than other candidates, who try to distance themselves from it.
However, these recent statements seem to contradict what he has said. When January 6 had recently occurred, Ramaswamy harshly condemned the attempted insurrection.
Of course, a tweet is one thing. In his book, Nation of Victims, chapter 5 describes Trump as a loser who refused to concede the election. As a reminder, this book came out only a year ago. While Ramaswamy, in recent interviews, has said he stands by his comments that Trump is a sore loser, he also has tried to recontextualize some of his previous statements.
For example, he now claims that he said that censorship was the cause of January 6, when his precious writings criticized Twitter for banning Trump, which occurred after January 6.
Ramaswamy’s strategy is walking back to his previous comments, which he may have believed was the best strategy. Now, he is reaching out to Trump supporters whom the candidate may disenfranchise or if Trump cannot run due to the legal troubles he is facing.
Trying to Erase Other Contradictory Facts
In May 2023, Ramaswamy allegedly paid Wikipedia editors to whitewash some of the information on him to make him look more favorable, a move against Wikipedia’s policies. Two major edits include removing the fact that he received the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans in 2011 and his involvement in the Ohio COVID-19 Response Team.
The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans provides support for Americans who are immigrants or children of immigrants, and Ramaswamy received a $50k scholarship from them despite being well-off financially. However, a more significant reason Ramaswamy wanted to erase this information is that Paul Soros was the brother of George Soros, a billionaire philanthropist who many on the right see as a puppetmaster behind many world events.
Ramaswamy’s involvement in COVID-19 was his biotech company working to develop treatments, with him saying that a vaccine should be developed. Since COVID-19 is a controversial issue for many on the right, it seemed like Ramaswamy wanted to downplay his involvement in researching and developing treatments for the virus. This includes working with a scientist who helped develop the vaccine, which has been controversial in many right circles.
Vivek Ramaswamy: Will His Campaign Succeed?
Ramaswamy’s campaign parallels Trump’s, with him being a wealthy outsider who seems to brute force his way past criticisms, including past remarks. It has a history of trying to erase aspects of his past. But currently, Trump is still far ahead. With over a year until the election, we don’t know if Vivek will continue to rise or if his campaign will fall harder than the “Truth” sign that fell on him during a speech. What we do know is that we’re going to keep following Ramasawamy’s campaign and give you updates as they come along.