Vivek Ramaswamy, the conservative author and drug company entrepreneur who put forward a long-running bid for the presidency in late February, believes that at the end of the GOP nomination race, he and former President Donald Trump will be the frontrunners.
He does not believe Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is “fit to be the leader of our country” and called him “fundamentally ungrateful,” noting the length of time before DeSantis I addressed publicly Trump’s earlier claim that he would be indicted.
“Anyone who comes in as a professional politician, with all the plastic features, I don’t see our base ending there. I think they need the outside,” Ramaswamy told CBS News during a visit to Washington, D.C., earlier this week.
Ramaswamy, the 37-year-old Indian-American CEO who has been a frequent guest on Fox News, visits early presidential primary states and says he will launch a daily podcast about his campaign soon.
But he remains a relatively unknown figure to the GOP base. In early presidential primary polls, Ramaswamy’s name was not recorded or a large number of voters said they did not know who he was. in Monmouth University February survey49% of Republicans said they had not heard of it.
But Ramaswamy, whose presidential bid is his first for office, argues he could be the “outsider” politician the Republican base — and Trump’s voter base — want.
“It won’t be immediate,” Ramaswamy said of his campaign. “It will be a 14 to 16-month project.”
He claims it will take Trump’s “America First” agenda “farther than he has ever done before” — and in a less divisive way. Ramaswamy vowed to “take” positive action, “worship the climate”, and demonstrate “the use of force to solve a problem”. [Mexican drug] Cartel problem” and saying he would shut down the Department of Education, which he maintains “has no reason to exist,” a common stance among a number of Republicans, including Trump.
Ramaswamy feels that the country is in the “midst of a national identity crisis” and that the younger generations see themselves as “victims rather than victors”, a position central to one of his books.
“Conservatives are hungry, they want to go further, but they don’t want to give up the moral core of conservatism,” Ramaswamy said, without answering whether Trump has damaged this “moral core,” as Trump faces trial next week in Manhattan. , while many other investigations are underway with the former president.
Ramaswamy believes the presidential primary race will change after the first debate in August, especially for DeSantis, whose potential candidacy has already drawn widespread interest among Republicans.
“He’s the person who I think the country thinks might actually be a professional politician who has a chance, [but] I think we the country and the Republican base will certainly see through that act. “I think they’ve already started,” Ramaswamy said.
DeSantis hasn’t officially launched the 2024 race yet, but he’s made visits to early presidential primaries and battleground states to promote his new book and speak to local Republican groups. And in hypothetical early polls for the 2024 field so far this year, DeSantis has consistently been in the top two with Trump, with several other candidates far behind.
However, Ramaswamy is eager to confront DeSantis directly, calling him a child who grew up “in their sheltered environment” and saying DeSantis has set up an “echo chamber” of support in Florida.
Ramaswamy said that DeSantis “got sucked into thinking this is actually the world. The world isn’t going to be kind to you, man.”
“We’re talking about representing the dreaded United States of America on the world stage. It can’t be this guy. He doesn’t have that. I know he’s very insecure. And he won’t tell you if he gets a second. He won’t tell you if he gets a second take— what to do [does he have] Stand up to Vladimir Putin,” Ramaswamy said. He also criticized DeSantis’ fights with Disney and investment management company Black stone.
CBS News has reached out to DeSantis’ political team for comment.
Ramaswamy was one of the first in the field of the 2024 prospect to show public support for Trump after predicting he would be impeached, which he says he did “on principle.” Ramaswamy said he was not sure how this indictment, or any future charges arising from other investigations into Trump, would affect the race for the nomination.
As for the rest of the potential 2024 field, Ramaswamy was quick to describe them as “career politicians” who won’t win over Republican voters in the primary.
Among former South Carolina governor and US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, the only other announced candidate in the race besides Ramaswamy and Trump, the biotech entrepreneur said is a “classic case” of a “career professional politician.” “I think she and DeSantis have a lot in common, even though they look so different,” he said.
He said of former Vice President Mike Pence that he is “a good man – a professional politician, who really does articulate his beliefs.”
“He seems like a nice enough guy — I think he still decides who he wants to be,” Ramaswamy said of Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who is also contemplating a presidential bid.
A native of Cincinnati, Ramaswamy is considered a possible GOP challenger to Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio in 2024, but told CBS News he has ruled out running and has his eyes set on the presidency.
Vin Gomez and Fernando Suarez contributed to this report.