DES MOINES, Iowa – Ohio businessman and GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy may still be a relative “long shot” in a Donald Trump-dominated contest, but he insists he’s not running for No. 2.
In short, there is “no Plan B,” Ramaswamy says.
“We are proud of what we’re doing for this country as an end in itself,” the top tier candidate told a gaggle of reporters following Saturday’s Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition cattle call of GOP presidential contenders in Des Moines.
It was the millennial Republican’s latest answer to those who contend he is running for president for ulterior motives — that he’s auditioning to be a Trump running mate or for a role in the cabinet, to sell books, etc.
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, among others, has repeatedly speculated that Ramaswamy is running for vice president. Said speculation soared after last month’s first GOP presidential debate in Milwaukee when Ramaswamy praised an absent Trump as “the best president of the 21st century.”
Trump has said Ramaswamy is VP material.
“He’s a very, very, very intelligent person. He’s got good energy, and he could be some form of something,” Trump told conservative talk show host Glenn Beck. “I tell you, I think he’d be very good.”
But Ramaswamy has said time and time again he’s not only running for president, he’s leading a traditional American values revolution.
“I’m not interested in a different position in the government,” the 38-year-old Ohio biotech entrepreneur told Fox News. “Frankly, I’d drive change through the private sector sooner than becoming number two or three in the federal government.”
2024 presidential candidate @VivekGRamaswamy (R) tells Neil he would turn down an offer to run as Vice President: "I've been very clear. I'm not interested in a different position in the government." pic.twitter.com/p42Ayl5fxA
— Neil Cavuto (@TeamCavuto) August 19, 2023
Ramaswamy has climbed in the national polls since launching his campaign in late February. He’s running third, at 7.2 percent, and gaining on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (12.7 percent), who has seen his numbers plummet since officially entering the race in May. Ramaswamy is polling at 11 percent in the latest Fox News poll, just 2 points behind DeSantis.
But every would-be president is miles behind the former president. Despite facing four criminal indictments, Trump is polling at nearly 57 percent, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of 2024 Republican presidential nomination polls.
While Ramaswamy’s favorability ratings have risen as he generates more buzz on the campaign trail, his widening recognition and aggressive policy proposals have lifted his unfavorable numbers as well.
On Sunday, Fox News anchor Shannon Bream asked the anti-woke crusader what the point of his candidacy is.
“President Trump has widened his commanding lead at 60 percent now. Many analysts say everybody else is just sort of playing for second place. You said you would not accept the vice presidential spot. So what’s the point of your campaign now?” Bream said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“The core focus for me is to take the America First agenda even farther than Donald Trump did,” Ramaswamy responded.
He reiterated that success breeds contempt, particularly in presidential politics.
“The reality is many people are annoyed by my rise and believe that a 38-year-old is too young to be U.S. president. The fact of the matter is Thomas Jefferson was 33 years old when he wrote the U.S. Declaration of Independence. He also invented the swivel chair while he was at it, by the way. And so I think we need to revive that spirit,” Ramaswamy said.
In talking to the press Saturday evening, the upstart politician said he and his surgeon wife Apoovra made the decision as a family that he would enter the race to engage in something bigger than standard presidential politics.
“I hope we are having a positive influence on people as we travel this country. I can tell you that we are being positively influenced, for sure I can tell you that, by the people we are meeting out on the ground in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, really across this country,” he said. “Apoovra and I were having this conversation the other day. Raising our two sons — one’s 3 1/2, the other is over a year old — what a blessing to have a shared family project to do something that’s actually meaningful and to set that example through action.”
The first generation Indian-American added, “I don’t know if there’s something we would rather be doing as a family than to set that example for our two sons and their generation. And I hope in doing it in the earnest way that we are is going to lead to success, but that’s the decision of the voters, not our decision.”
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