Surging in the Polls, Ramaswamy Tells the Sun He’s ‘In This Race To Win,’ Wants Trump To Be His ‘Most Useful Adviser’

Ramaswamy brushes off suggestions he could be Trump’s vice presidential pick, pointing out that unlike the 45th president, he doesn’t ‘make about 30 percent of this country psychiatrically ill.’

AP/Charlie Neibergall
A Republican presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, speaks during the Family Leadership Summit, July 14, 2023, at Des Moines, Iowa. AP/Charlie Neibergall

A surprise candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, Vivek Ramaswamy, is making a splash in the summer polls — and is even being floated by some political observers as a potential pick to be President Trump’s running mate. 

Yet the best-selling author, though lagging well behind Mr. Trump, tells the Sun that he believes he can follow a path “similar to the trajectory that Trump followed in 2015” and declined to say whether he would accept any position other than commander-in-chief, saying, “I am in this race to win, and I expect that we will.”

“I started at 0.0 percent in March — we’re now third in most of the national polls, and the first debate hasn’t yet happened,” Mr. Ramaswamy says. “So, in many ways, it’s following a trajectory similar to the trajectory that Trump followed in 2015.” 

The 37-year-old Cincinnati native, a graduate of Harvard and Yale Law School and co-founder of the healthcare company Roivant Sciences, is campaigning under the slogan “America First 2.0.” He tells the Sun that he believes he can take Mr. Trump’s “America First” agenda to the next level, in part because voters are less hostile to him than to Mr. Trump.

Embracing the “outsider” label, Mr. Ramaswamy is confident he will be a more effective candidate than Mr. Trump, given the former president’s unpopularity with the American public, colloquially known as “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” Mr. Trump’s rating currently hovers at 40 percent, underwater more than 16 points, according to FiveThirtyEight. 

“The reality is that there’s something about him that makes about 30 percent of this country psychiatrically ill,” Mr. Ramaswamy says in reference to Mr. Trump. “I haven’t had that same effect on people, and I think that will allow us to go further with the agenda to unite the country.” 

Mr. Ramaswamy has also emphasized in his campaign that he would do more to “drain the swamp,” even calling to shut down the FBI and Department of Education. He has criticized Mr. Trump for having failed to take sufficient action during his presidency to dismantle the administrative state. 

“I wouldn’t just put Betsy DeVos on top of the Department of Education, I would shut it down,” he says. “I wouldn’t fire James Comey, I would shut down the FBI.” Mr. Trump’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Mr. Ramaswamy’s assertions. 

Even as Mr. Ramaswamy, who, according to a recent Harvard-Harris survey, is polling at 10 percent, is able to creep up in the polls, he has an uphill battle, given Mr. Trump’s iron grip on a key bloc of the Republican Party. The same poll projects that Mr. Trump has the support of 52 percent of Republican voters. 

Mr. Ramaswamy posted $7.7 million in fundraising in the second quarter of 2023, more than the former ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, who raised $5.3 million, and Senator Scott of South Carolina, who raised $5.9 million. Some $5 million of Mr. Ramaswamy’s funds came from his own pocket. His funds are also less than half of those raised by Mr. Trump and Governor DeSantis, who posted $17.7 million and $20.1 million, respectively, according to recent filings. 

Yet Mr. Ramaswamy tells the Sun he is confident he will inch closer to overtaking Mr. Trump, noting that his trajectory is not so different from Mr. Trump’s own path to the 2016 presidential nomination.

Some have speculated that Mr. Ramaswamy actually sees himself as a serious contender for Mr. Trump’s vice presidential nominee, after Mr. Trump told Fox News that he would consider a primary candidate for a running mate and also noted that Mr. Ramaswamy has “done a very good job.” Mr. Trump said during the interview that he is “very friendly” with some of the other candidates, but only mentioned Senator Scott and Mr. Ramaswamy by name.

Asked whether he would consider a vice presidential position or another role in a Republican president’s administration, Mr. Ramaswamy tells the Sun that he is “in this race to win” and “expect[s] that we will,” adding that, should he win, he hopes Mr. Trump would consider advising him. 

“I’ll be the president, and I do expect him to be probably the most useful advisor that I’ll have, frankly, from his place of experience,” Mr. Ramaswamy says. 

A political consultant, Whit Ayres, tells the Sun that he believes Mr. Ramaswamy’s success will be short-lived, likening him to past surprise phenoms, such as Ben Carson in 2016 and Herman Cain in 2012. Both men rose to the top of early polls in the GOP nomination contest before ultimately sputtering out.

“Periodically, somebody comes along and captures some attention, and then it’s obvious they have no clue what they’re doing and they fade,” Mr. Ayres says, noting that Mr. Trump’s lack of political experience “may be the exception that proves the rule.”

The numbers will likely shift after the Republican primary debates begin in August. Mr. Ramaswamy recently announced he has also passed the 40,000-donor threshold he needs to participate in the first Republican debate next month. Mr. Trump has yet to formally declare whether he will make an appearance as well, but he is not expected to be there.

The New York Sun

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