Former President Donald Trump has taken notice of presidential competitor Vivek Ramaswamy’s rise in the Republican presidential primary polls.
In a statement released Friday, Trump said he’s pleased to see the Ohio businessman and political outsider doing so well.
“He is tied with Mike Pence, and seems to be on his way to catching Ron DeSanctimonious,” Trump said in the statement, referring to his former vice president and employing one of the derisive nicknames he’s used for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
A CBS/YouGov poll last week showed Trump (58%) up significantly on the field of declared and presumptive Republican contenders for the Republican Party nomination. DeSantis, who is expected to officially launch his campaign in the coming days polled at 22 percent, followed by Ramaswamy and Pence, each at 5 percent, and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley at 4 percent. Ramaswamy and Haley declared their campaigns in February, while Pence continues to mull a run for the White House.
“The thing I like about Vivek is that he only has good things to say about ‘President Trump’ and all that the Trump Administration has so successfully done — This is the reason he is doing so well,” Trump added.
It’s not the first time the former president has applauded anti-woke crusader Ramaswamy — at the expense of DeSantis.
In March, Trump bashed his closest rival, asserting Ramaswamy would overtake DeSantis in the polls.
“Ron DeSanctimonious is dropping in the Polls so fast that he soon may be falling behind young Vivek Ramaswamy,” Trump wrote on his social network platform, Truth Social.
At 37, Vivek is the youngest candidate for president. The multimillionaire biotech entrepreneur’s political star has climbed since announcing his campaign with relatively little name recognition. Still considered a long shot candidate in a crowded field dominated by Trump, Ramaswamy has seen his poll numbers steadily rise from flatline to a consistent top five showing among the packed field of possible Republican candidates.
He’s back in Iowa this week for a five-day, six-stop bus tour, including a campaign rally in suburban Des Moines with very popular Governor Kim Reynolds. Ramaswamy has essentially made Iowa and the other opening presidential nominating states second homes over the early run of his whirlwind campaign.
His campaign CEO Ben Yoho has said the path the Republican Party nomination doesn’t run through Trump, but alongside the former president. That includes criticizing the former president’s closest rival. Yoho said the Florida governor has “squandered one of the greatest opportunities in modern presidential history, and his campaign is guilty of gross malpractice.”
“His path to the nomination runs through Trump, and his fumbling, mistake-riddled campaign has demonstrated he is incapable of running the kind of operation necessary to win. He is built to fail,” Yoho asserted.
But DeSantis continues to draw big crowds and attention everywhere he goes. In battleground Wisconsin over the weekend, nearly 600 Republicans turned out to hear the popular Florida governor speak at the Marathon County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner in northcentral Wisconsin.
“We are proud of all that we’ve accomplished in the state of Florida,” DeSantis told attendees. “But I can tell you this: I have only begun to fight.”
DeSantis and Trump are on a collision course, double booked in Iowa this weekend. The former president will hold a rally at Lauridsen Amphitheater at Des Moines’ Water Works Park on Saturday evening. DeSantis will be in northwest Iowa Saturday afternoon at U.S. Representative Randy Feenstra’s (R-IA-04) annual summer fundraiser, the Feenstra Family Picnic, and then at a state GOP event in Cedar Rapids in the evening.
For now, Trump has grabbed the lion’s share of Republican Party allegiance.
“Trump looks like a former president who left office popular with his party, and little that’s happened in the ensuing years has changed that. In fact, concerning his recent legal challenges, a majority say one rationale for backing him is showing support during those fights,” CBS News reported last week.
Trump has campaigned as if he’s the only candidate in the room, while routinely taking shots at his opponents. He has said he may not attend GOP presidential candidate debates, beginning in August in Milwaukee — home of the 2024 Republican Party Convention.<
He had a closing message for his challengers.
“In any event, good luck to all of them, they will need it!” Trump said.
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Donald Trump” by Chad Stembridge.