Vivek Ramaswamy, a health care and tech sector entrepreneur, conservative commentator and author who has become a crusader in the culture wars, declared his candidacy for president on Tuesday in a live interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
“We are in the middle of this national identity crisis, Tucker, where we have celebrated our difference for so long that we forgot all the ways we are really just the same as Americans bound by a common set of ideals that set this nation into motion 250 years ago,” he said.
“That’s why I am proud to say tonight that I am running for United States president to revive those ideals in this country,” Ramaswamy said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“I think we need to put ‘merit’ back into ‘America’ in every spirit of our lives,” continued Ramaswamy, who said he will end affirmative action in “every sphere of American life.”
The 37-year-old Ramaswamy, author of “Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam,” has been on what he’s described as a “listening tour” in recent weeks, which took him earlier this month to New Hampshire, which votes second in the Republican presidential nominating calendar.
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Ramaswamy, who was dubbed “the C.E.O. of Anti-Woke, Inc.” in New Yorker magazine profile last year, will return to New Hampshire on Wednesday, with multiple stops in Rochester and Manchester.
“This isn’t just a political campaign; this is a cultural movement to create a new dream for the next generation of Americans,” Ramaswamy said in a campaign video released as he announced his bid on Fox News.
Ramaswamy said that his campaign is “about the unapologetic pursuit of excellence in our country. It means you believe in merit; that you get ahead in this country not on the color of your skin but on the content of your character and your contributions.”
“I grew up in Ohio in the 90’s as a skinny kid with nerdy glasses and a funny last name,” Ramaswamy said. “My parents taught me that if you’re going to stand out, then you might as well be outstanding. Achievement was my ticket to get ahead. I went on to found multi-billion-dollar companies. And I did it while getting married – raising a family and following my faith in God.”
In an interview with Fox News Digital earlier this month, Ramaswamy said that he wants to answer “the question of what it means to be American in the year 2023.”
“I’m 37 years old. When you ask people my age and younger what it means to be American today, you get a blank stare,” he said.
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“I have a vision of what the answer to that question ought to be,” Ramaswamy said. “I care about advancing that vision.”
He said his vision is about restoring the “national identity in America,” decrying the “vacuum” in younger generations who fill the void with “the poison of wokeism, and climatism, and transgenderism, and COVIDism for that matter.”
Ramaswamy is calling for a “total decoupling” from Communist China, which he argued is a greater threat to America today than the Soviet Union was during the Cold War because China makes the “shoes on our feet and the phones in our pockets.”
He acknowledged though that taking off the economic Band-Aid from Beijing is “not going to be easy,” admitting “it will require some sacrifice of short-term conveniences” but stressed the ends would justify the means.
As the son of Indian migrants who legally came through America’s “front door,” Ramaswamy is a strong supporter of merit-based immigration and would not grant leniency for those who broke the law when entering the country.
Other top priorities of his include “restoring free speech,” which would involve making political expression a civil right and banning Big Tech censorship that is executed at the behest of the government, as well as “dismantling” affirmative action and the “new climate religion,” something he calls a “cancer on the American soul.”
Ramaswamy joins a GOP field that is likely to grow in the coming weeks and months.
Former President Donald Trump launched his third straight White House campaign in mid-November. Last week former South Carolina governor and former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley declared her candidacy for president, joining Trump as the only major Republicans to date in the 2024 White House race.