Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy told Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Daily he thinks he is more closely aligned with the Donald Trump of 2015 than former President Trump currently is.
Ramaswamy joined Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow on the program on Tuesday, days after Trump floated the idea of sitting out Republican primary debates while speaking in Manchester, New Hampshire. Marlow, who noted he would like to see the candidates debate the issues, asked Ramaswamy for his thoughts on Trump’s posture.
Ramaswamy responded by comparing the dynamic to that of the Democrat primary, where the Democratic National Committee announced there would be no debates, despite candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. already polling in the double digits against Joe Biden.
“I mean, several days before Trump floated this idea that he wasn’t going to debate, I was on air criticizing Joe Biden for refusing to debate in the Democrat Party because the managerial class, the establishment, props him up,” Ramaswamy said. “I think RFK Jr. would shine on the debate stage…I was criticizing the Democrat Party, and then I see our version of Joe, you know, equivalent who ran against Joe Biden last time, Donald Trump, saying, well, he may not want to debate either. And I think that that isn’t courageous.”
“I think Donald Trump was the embodiment of courage in 2015, but I think that…in some ways, I’m closer to Donald Trump in 2015 than today’s Donald Trump is to Trump in ’15,” he added. “And I think that we have to step up and man up and say that ‘You know what? The best ideas are going to win, our party’s going to be better off, our movement’s going to be better off, our country is going to be better off if we’re actually challenged with arguments.”
He added that “America First does not belong to Trump, it doesn’t belong to me, it doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to the people of this county, and I think that’s what we need to go back to remembering, which is this isn’t about what is or isn’t most favorable for some incumbent, be that Biden or be that Trump. This is about the people of this country, and we’re better off as a nation both within our party and across parties when we’re actually getting to the best idea.”
Earlier in the interview, Marlow and Ramaswamy discussed the candidate’s viral segment on CNN This Morning with Don Lemon several weeks ago that reportedly “left several CNN leaders exasperated” days before the anchor’s outsing from the network. Ramaswamy contended that the second amendment played a critical role in securing black Americans’ civil rights, while Lemon devalued Ramaswamy’s opinions because he was not black.
“I knew when he started yelling at his producers on set for speaking in his ear that there was something unique happening here,” he laughed. “And then, when he lashed out at me for not being black and not being able to make that argument, I said, ‘This is good. We have surfaced something that is lurking beneath the surface of American discourse for a long time. Let’s squeeze that lemon for everything it’s worth and have this discussion in the open.’ And I’m pleased to say the New York Times and others reported that that was the final catalyst for his firing, which I think will be, frankly, a good thing for CNN, so I’m glad to have helped them.”
While appearing on MSNBC’s The Reid Out on Monday evening, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), an Indian-American like Ramaswamy, called the candidate’s comments during the discussion with Lemon “embarrassing.”
MLK Jr. got his idea of nonviolent protest from Gandhi, but I’m not going to sit here & say that means black Americans owe Indians some “debt of gratitude.” All 3 of us are kids of immigrants & we owe gratitude to *America*, not to a racial group. @joyannreid @rokhanna https://t.co/7GvggKmlWa
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) May 2, 2023
I mean to sit there lecturing a black man about black history was totally uncalled for, and then he didn’t have all of his historical facts. The Indian American community owes a huge debt to the African American community. If it weren’t for the civil rights movement, the 1965 Immigration Reform Act wouldn’t have passed. My parents wouldn’t have come to America. Before that, basically, immigrants from Asia and Africa were not allowed to come; it was highly discriminatory.
Ramaswamy shot back at Khanna in a tweet, writing that “MLK Jr. got his idea of nonviolent protest from Gandhi, but I’m not going to sit here & say that means black Americans owe Indians some ‘debt of gratitude.’”
“All 3 of us are kids of immigrants & we owe gratitude to *America*, not to a racial group,” he added before challenging Reid to invite him on her show.
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 from 6:00 to 9:00 A.M. Eastern.
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