WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Vivek Ramaswamy went from “strongly considering” to a headlong plunge into the race for the White House.
The 37-year-old biotech entrepreneur and crusader against corporate wokeism on Tuesday filed paperwork for a presidential run — the latest Republican to join former President Donald Trump in what’s expected to be a crowded 2024 GOP nomination chase.
Ramaswamy’s team confirms he filed his statement of organization and statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission. The move came as little surprise after the author of Woke, Inc. told National Review and other conservative outlets earlier this week he is “strongly considering” a run for president and expected to make a decision “very soon.”
The Ohio businessman is now headed to Iowa, including appearances Thursday at a Scott County Republican Women luncheon in Bettendorf, the Iowa Legislature, and at an event sponsored by the Polk County Republicans in suburban Des Moines.
It’s been a busy week in what promises to be an action-packed political year in Iowa, the first-in-the nation caucus state. Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and U.N. Ambassador under Trump, followed up her campaign launch last week with stops in Iowa on Monday and Tuesday. U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), who, too, is mulling over a run for president, is scheduled to be in Iowa on Wednesday and Thursday.
It’s about to get a whole lot busier.
Ramaswamy, who bills himself as “capitalist and citizen”, sat down with The Star News Network for an interview on his political plans and vision for the America he loves and fears we’re losing.
1. So, what brings you to Iowa?
We have a number of events scheduled in Des Moines, Bettendorf, Ankeny, and Urbandale. Among other stops, I plan to address the Iowa General Assembly at the statehouse on Thursday morning, and we will meet with a number of local activists. We are also hosting a roundtable to meet with community business leaders.
2. Billionaire investor Bill Ackman predicted you will run for president and you will win because the country is “ready” for your message. Ackman was right about you running. What is your message?
We’re in the middle of a national identity crisis. Our nation is hungry for a cause, for purpose, for meaning. The things that used to fill that void – like faith, patriotism, and family – have disappeared. We now embrace one secular religion after another – from Covidism to climateism to genderism – to satisfy our need for identity. Yet we cannot even answer what it means to be an American in the year 2023.
Today the woke Left preys on that vacuum. They tell you that race, your gender, and your sexual orientation govern who you are and what you can achieve in life. If you question that orthodoxy, they call you a bigot. A homophobe. A climate denier. A racist. And there is no greater damnation in modern America than to be called a racist.
This is psychological slavery. And that has created a new culture of fear that has completely replaced our culture of free speech in America. The best measure of the health of a democracy is the percentage of people who feel free to say what they actually think in public, and right now we are doing abysmally.
That is why if I decide to run for president of the United States, it won’t just be a political campaign, but a cultural movement to answer the question of what it means to be an American today – and to create a New Dream for the next generation of Americans. And this time it isn’t just about money. It is about the unapologetic pursuit of excellence itself.
3. Have we reached a tipping point in this country? In short, can the woke Left be stopped?
I believe we are at a precipice in this country. I’m a first-generation American, born and raised in Ohio, and I went on to found multibillion dollar companies. I got ahead based on merit, not my skin color. And I did it while getting married, creating a family, and following my faith in God. If I’d been born 20 years later, my story would have been impossible. That’s a sad reality that I want to change for the next generation of Americans.
Our nation is hungry for a cause; we want purpose and meaning. The woke Left preys on that vacuum with a poisonous obsession with race, sexuality, and climate change. In reality, I think most Americans believe in merit, accountability, free speech, and American exceptionalism.
I think most Americans believe these things to be true. I think most people think that their neighbors, colleagues, and classmates also believe these things to be true, but they can’t be sure anymore because we’re not allowed to talk about it. I believe deep in my bones these ideals still exist. And if we can rediscover our shared national identity, then we can take on the greatest external threat we face: Communist China.
4. There looks to be a crowded field of contenders for the Republican nomination, including Nikki Haley and former President Trump. What differentiates you from the other conservatives?
This isn’t about me. This isn’t about any one person. Our party sometimes obsesses too much over the ‘who,’ but what matters is the ‘what’ and the ‘why.’ Once we answer that, the question of “who” becomes easier to answer.
Many Republicans recite slogans they memorized in 1980 or else just criticize Left-wing culture without offering any actual solutions.
I’m on a mission to deliver a vision of national identity that will dilute this woke agenda to irrelevance. And I’m not serving as a mouthpiece for someone else’s vision or policy agenda. These are the ideas that I have personally developed over the last three years.
Yes, we absolutely need to put America first. But to put America first, we must rediscover what America is.
5. Is Trump’s attempt to return to the White House good or bad for the Republican Party? The country?
I consider Donald Trump a friend, and just like him, I’m all-in for the America First agenda. I have gratitude and respect for what he did for this country in 2015 and 2016 – he identified issues in the country that no one else was talking about. Frankly, I probably wouldn’t be thinking about running today if he had not run as a businessman and outsider 7 years ago – and won. It’s sad what he’s been forced to go through.
But the question is: Where do we go from here? We have done enough of just criticizing the other side, we have a clear-eyed view of the problems, and now we need to actually solve them. I have a vision for how to do that, both domestically and through our foreign policy.
6. What are your thoughts on the current state of election integrity in America?
I think it reveals the confluence of woke culture and the process of electoral politics: the fact that the other side objects to voter ID laws as “racist” says a lot – and reveals much of what’s wrong in our country.
7. What are your biggest concerns about the United States under the governance of President Joe Biden?
The goal of Joe Biden and the ruling party in this country is to convince us that we are divided. Why? So they can accumulate more power for themselves.
It’s time to stand up to the ruling aristocracy in America – in Washington D.C., on Wall Street, and in Silicon Valley – that does whatever allows them to accumulate more money and power for themselves. They try to divide and conquer, but that won’t work if we stay united.
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Vivek Ramaswamy” by Vivek Ramaswamy.