Last week, news circulated that longshot GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy paid a Wikipedia editor to remove information about his close relationship with a scientist who helped pioneer mRNA vaccines.
The National Review speculated that Ramaswamy may have believed that any association with technology that was ultimately used to create the COVID-19 vaccines could be a detriment to his campaign.
This isn’t exactly news – or at least not “new” news.
MediaITE.com reported in May that Ramaswamy made an intentional effort to conceal some inconvenient truths about his past. It noted that at the time, the candidate’s Wikipedia page included the warning, “this article has multiple issues,” with a note that it “contains paid contributions” and “may require cleanup to comply with Wikipedia’s content policies, particularly neutral point of view.”
The candidate’s spokeswoman Tricia McLaughlin told the Huffington Post earlier this year that Ramaswamy was not trying to hide anything about his past.
“The point is getting accurate information on his Wikipedia,” she explained, adding, “It makes sense to clear up lies and deception planted by the very folks who appear to have planted this story.”
Wikipedia’s warnings about the content have since been removed, and most of the edits have been changed back.
Vivek Scrubbing the Soros Connection
It wasn’t just the connection to Professor Douglas Melton, a stem-cell chemist who was one of the pioneers of the mRNA vaccine, which was scrubbed away in the Wikipedia edits.
Also eemoved were lines about Ramaswamy’s receipt of a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans in 2011.
Paul Soros, who died in 2013, was the older brother of billionaire George Soros, who has donated billions to the Open Society Foundations. The fellowship is recorded on the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans website, and it has since been re-added to Ramaswamy’s entry, Newsweek reported.
Despite receiving the scholarship, Ramaswamy has publicly criticized billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros.
A Non-Partisan Fellowship
The fellowship Ramaswamy received was founded in 1997 and is dedicated to helping immigrants and children of immigrants pursue graduate school. It has no restrictions based on the field of study and has supported graduate students in public policy, science, medicine, business, law, music, arts, humanities, and the social sciences.
As of 2022, 743 students have been recipients of The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. However, applicants cannot be over 31 years of age while applying for the scholarship.
Moreover, McLaughlin was quick last week to defend Ramaswamy’s decision to accept the scholarship.
“Vivek would have been a fool to turn down that scholarship – Anyone who would have shouldn’t get anywhere near the White House doing trade deals,” she added.
Though it would seem that there was no impropriety in his taking the scholarship, nor was it even ethically wrong (and certainly not illegal), it is likely his political rivals may attempt to suggest Ramaswamy has ties to George Soros.
That could doom his White House chances before they even begin. The mere fact that he received money via the fellowship from one with the last name Soros could be a sticking point for some MAGA voters.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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