Is Vivek Ramaswamy a fraud?: After his rise in the polls and a debate performance in which he took up much of the oxygen in the room, Ramaswamy is starting to face some scrutiny. It’s not going great for him.
Vivek Ramaswamy Has A Problem
Vivek Ramaswamy has had an uncommon rise in American politics. The businessman went from nearly total obscurity to a respectable third place in most polls of the Republican nomination contest. He’s behind Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, but ahead of everyone else, including former Vice President Mike Pence and ex-governors Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, and Asa Hutchinson.
In the first Republican presidential debate, Ramaswamy didn’t exactly win, but he did take up the most oxygen of any candidates and got into bitter back-and-forth exchanges with multiple other candidates, including Pence, Christie, and Haley.
The increased visibility, however, has led to more scrutiny for the upstart candidate, both from the mainstream media and specifically conservative outlets.
Ramaswamy appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” over the weekend, where he was asked about inconsistencies between things he wrote in his 2022 book and what he says on the trail now.
While the candidate had said in the book that he does not believe that “most Republican politicians actually think the election was stolen,” he said something different on Todd’s show.
“I think that there was a historic opportunity that he missed to reunite this country in that window,” Ramaswamy said of Pence, with whom he had sparred during the debate over the then-vice president’s refusal to block the tallying of electoral votes on January 6, 2021.
“What I would have said is, ‘This is a moment for a true national consensus’ where there are two elements of what’s required for a functioning democracy in America: one is secure elections and the second is a peaceful transfer of power. When those things come into conflict, that’s an opportunity for heroism,” Ramaswamy said. He added that he would have pushed for “reform,” including single-day voting on Election Day, prior to certifying the electoral votes, which isn’t a power that the vice president has.
Also, the New York Times has fact-checked some things Ramaswamy has said on the campaign trail. This has included questioning climate change, blaming Obama-era climate politics for the wildfires in Hawaii, and whether he had praised Trump in his book.
Ramaswamy has also drawn some fire from the right. A recent Fox News story used the S-word — “Soros” — in noting that Ramaswamy accepted a $90,000 law school scholarship from the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, founded by the brother of the financier and conservative boogeyman George Soros. The Fox story added that the candidate reported an income of $2.2 million the year he received that scholarship, during which he was working at a hedge fund.
Another Fox story looked into claims that Ramaswamy “didn’t grow up in money.” That claim appears to be relative; he wrote in his book that he was raised in a “comfortably middle-class family with two incomes,” although by the time he worked at a hedge fund and founded companies, he was clearly in a much higher income bracket.
Perhaps the most negative piece about Ramaswamy, after the debate, came from journalist Josh Barro, on his Substack newsletter. Barro, a Harvard graduate who attended that university two years ahead of Ramaswamy, recognized him, based on his debate performance, as “Section Guy,” a Harvard-specific term for “that guy in your discussion section who adores the sound of his own voice, who thinks he’s the smartest person on the planet with the most interesting and valuable interpretations of the course material, and who will not ever, ever, ever shut up.”
While that may be a very personally specific gripe on Barro’s part, he argued that others without a Harvard background may see similar negative things in the candidate.
“Last night’s debate — in which I watched several former governors react to Vivek on a debate stage in the same way that I do in my living room — disabused me of this notion. Me wanting to punch someone in the face might be a ‘me’ problem. But if Mike Pence, Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, and I all want to punch the same person in the face? That surely has to be a him problem,” Barro writes.
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
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