Blowhard Bows Out: Vivek Ramaswamy Suspends Presidential Campaign, Endorses Trump After Iowa Debacle

  • The political neophyte who became a lightning rod during the GOP presidential debates, meekly exited the biggest stage that he courted spending millions of his own money.

Vivek Ramaswamy has suspended his presidential campaign and endorsed former President Trump. The 38-year-old Indian American entrepreneur made the announcement in Des Moines on Jan. 15 after a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. According to CNN projections, Ramaswamy finished with 8% of the GOP caucus vote, behind Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. 

Accompanied by his surgeon wife Apoorva, who looked visibly disappointed, Ramaswamy told his supporters that he is dropping out of the race because they “did not achieve the surprise they wanted to deliver tonight.” He said he called Trump to congratulate him on his victory and would attend a rally with him in New Hampshire on Jan. 16. “There needs to be an America First candidate in this race,” he said. “Going forward, he will have my full endorsement for the presidency.”

Whether or not it is a strategic move to get back into the good graces of Trump who attacked him last week, Ramaswamy may have done a big favor to the former president by bowing out before the New Hampshire primary. Trump is practically tied in the polls with Nikki Haley, following Chris Christie’s exit last week. Remaining in the race, Ramaswamy would have only split the MAGA vote however small his slice may be. It is not surprising therefore that in his Iowa victory speech Trump praised Ramaswamy’s performance in the Hawkeye State even though the Indian American was placed last but one.

Ramaswamy entered the 2024 race with no prior political experience. Founder of the biotech firm Roivant Sciences and author of the book “Woke Inc., he funded most of his campaign from his fortunes. Right from the start, he aligned with Trump, and repeatedly praised him. According to Axios, he “emerged as a lightning rod during the GOP presidential debates, aggressively attacking his rivals and engaging in combative, sometimes personal, criticisms.” He also vowed to support Trump, even if he was convicted of felonies, promising to pardon him if elected to the White House. At one point he announced that he would voluntarily remove his name from the ballot in states that succeeded in knocking Trump from the ballot. 

On the campaign trail, he talked about taking Trump’s policies even further as president. He pledged to shut down government agencies; vowed to use the United States military to secure the southern and northern borders; and also proposed ending birthright citizenship for American-born children of undocumented immigrants. He often spoke about how his Hindu faith was aligned with the values of Evangelical Christian voters. But when his supporters urged him to push for the vice presidential slot on Trump’s ticket if it was offered to him, he would answer that he’s “not a Plan B” person.

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When he started fading in polls in Iowa, he increasingly embraced fringe theories and far-right claims in the Hawkeye State. The Washington Post noted that like former Iowa Rep. Steve King who endorsed Ramaswamy, he has “increasingly embraced extreme ideas, far-right individuals and causes, and debunked conspiracy theories.” Over the months, he gainedsupport from far-right and white supremacist figures as well.

Meanwhile, after months of warmth toward Ramaswamy, Trump’s campaign turned on him two days before the Iowa caucuses, Declaring him a fraud, the former president demanded that voters reject Ramaswamy and vote for him. However, in a speech after his win in Iowa, Trump mentioned Ramaswamy and congratulated him for “doing a helluva job.” He said his former rival “came from zero” and got “almost” eight percent in Iowa, which is an “amazing job.” 

Whether Ramaswamy’s continued support for Trump and his endorsement will land a spot in the former president’s cabinet remains to be seen. 

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