Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy clashed with MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan over his prior anti-Trump comments.
“You and I both grew up as kids of Indian immigrants who love to debate, super confident, perhaps overconfident in our views,” Hasan asked. “But here’s the difference. I kind of know my limits … what have you done that even qualifies you to be president of the United States?”
Vivek Ramaswamy went out of his way at the recent GOP debate to be the Trumpiest candidate on the stage. Trump boycotted it. It paid off.
Trump Mentions Ramaswamy as Possible Running Mate
The former president told talk show host Glenn Beck that he would consider Ramaswamy as a potential running mate.
“He’s a very, very, very intelligent person. He’s got good energy, and he could be some form of something,” Former President and now candidate Donald Trump said of Ramaswamy. “I tell you, I think he’d be very good.”
Yet Ramaswamy was the one saying the U.S. should end aid to Ukraine and attacked the former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, and others for supporting it.
Hasan Presses Ramaswamy on Past Trump Statements
“Is Donald Trump, as you say now, the best president of the 21st century … Or is Trump, as you’ve said in the past, in your books, on Twitter, a ‘sore loser’, who is a ‘danger to democracy’, and who did ‘downright abhorrent’ and egregious things on January 6’? Which one is he, Vivek?” Hasan asked.
The candidate deflected Hasan’s question replying, “Let’s actually be really fair to your audience … So, on January 10th, 2021, thereabouts, days after the incident, I wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that censorship was the real cause of what happened on January 6th.”
Ramaswamy condemned Trump’s behavior on one hand.
“What Trump did last week was wrong. Downright abhorrent. Plain and simple. I’ve said it before and did so in my piece,” Ramaswamy wrote in a Jan. 12, 2021 post on X (formerly Twitter).
On the other hand, he condemned those who were out to destroy him for his foolish statements.
Ramaswamy Called Big Tech, Not Trump, a Danger to Democracy
At the same time, Ramaswamy condemned Big Tech as a danger to democracy.
“American democracy is under siege from Silicon Valley’s political plutocracy. Next week Mr. Trump will be a private citizen without a Twitter account,” Ramaswamy wrote in a Jan. 11, 2021 column in The Wall Street Journal. “Our new class of corporate monarchs will still control whether and how Americans can hear from the president—or anyone else. We have devolved from a three-branch federal government to one with a branch office in Silicon Valley. But there’s no democratic accountability for Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg.”
A review of Ramaswamy’s X account by 19FortyFive found the only time the candidate ever talked about a “danger to democracy” was in reference to corporations using their power to censor speech they do not approve of.
“I’ve condemned what happened on January 6th. It was a stain on our history. But the right answer is not to censor political speech. That’s an even greater threat to democracy,” Ramaswamy wrote in a Jun. 14, 2021 post on X.
Then in an Aug. 17, 2021 post on X, Ramaswamy again lambasted corporations, “Corporate America has turned its back on America. They are undermining our democracy at home and our geopolitical standing abroad.”
Hasan Demands Vivek Ramaswamy Condemn Trump
Hasan, who is the master of the gotcha interview, said Ramaswamy would not denounce Trump again publicly because he is scared of him.
“I want to hear from your mouth. You’re scared of him. Why won’t you say what he did that was downright abhorrent?” Hasan said. “I want you to answer my question, Vivek. Three times I’ve asked it. What did Trump do that was downright abhorrent? It’s a simple question. It’s your words, it’s onscreen, what did he do that was downright abhorrent?”
The candidate again deflected saying, “I believe that failing to unite this country falls short of what a true leader ought to do. That is why I am in this race, to do things differently than any prior president has done them.”
The candidate’s positions show nuance in that he can look at how Trump’s policies improved America on one hand and reject his behavior on January 6 on the other while looking at Silicon Valley as the real threat to democracy.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.