A former young biotech entrepreneur who became an author and conservative political commentator, Vivek Ramaswamy says he is aiming to solve a “national identity crisis” in his bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.
“If you ask people, really any age, in this country today: ‘What does it mean to be an American?’, you get a blank stare in response. And I think that’s a problem,” Ramaswamy told Chuck Todd in the latest episode of The Chuck ToddCast.
“What I hope to bring to the White House is national unity that involves embracing the radicalism, dare I even say, the extremism of the ideals that birthed this nation,” he added.
But despite the call for national unity, Ramaswamy has taken up issues popular among right-wing audiences, such as abolishing the Department of Education and cutting affirmative action in the federal government.
During the podcast interview, Ramaswamy called out former President Donald Trump’s inaction on these issues in his first term for “fear of political backlash.” On the other hand, he also criticized Trump for his false claims of election fraud in the 2020 election and his influence on the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
“I’m going to speak truth as I see it, do it unapologetically,” adding that includes “things that I think the base likes that I’m hitting that Trump is even a little shy on,” he said.
Despite his ambitions, Ramaswamy still has a steep hill to climb to earn the party’s nomination, receiving only 1% of support in CPAC straw poll on Saturday behind Trump, Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman Perry Johnson and Nikki Haley.
Nonetheless, Ramaswamy is seeking to emphasize his lack of political experience, attempting to cement himself as the “true outsider” in the race as opposed to Trump.
He said, “You only get to be an outsider once, I’m sorry.”
Listen to Chuck Todd’s full interview with Vivek Ramaswamy and explore other episodes of The Chuck Toddcast here.