Former President Donald Trump has long been known for his combative style on the campaign trail, but Vivek Ramaswamy, the latest GOP contender to jump in to the White House race, isn’t worried about incoming fire from the former president.
In the early days of the 2024 Republican presidential nomination race, Trump has already taken at former South Carolina governor and former ambassador Nikki Haley, who declared her candidacy last week. And he’s repeatedly blasted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the popular conservative governor who remains in the sidelines but is the biggest potential threat to the former president.
“I’d be surprised if he came that way with me just because we’re friends. I think we have a deep, mutual respect for one another. We’re both energetic people,” Ramaswamy told Fox News in an interview Thursday on the campaign trail in New Hampshire.
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Pointing to the former president’s successful 2016 march to the White House, entrepreneur and anti-ESG investor Ramaswamy said that Trump “was an outsider, a disrupter in 2015, 2016. That’s what I’m doing now. I don’t particularly expect that he’s going to be taking aim at me that’s not respectful.”
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But if he’s wrong about Trump, Ramaswamy said he’s ready for the taunts.
“If he is, sure, it’s a competition. We’re happy to do that. Competition breeds innovation and it’s not going to bother me,” he said.
Ramaswamy, a health care and tech sector entrepreneur, conservative commentator, and crusader in the culture wars, declared his candidacy for president on Tuesday in a live interview on the Fox News Channel.
On Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” where he launched his campaign, Ramaswamy said he respected what the former president was able to accomplish during the 2016 election and said Trump’s upset victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton inspired his own presidential ambitions.
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Speaking with Fox Digital, Ramaswamy emphasized that “I’m not running against President Trump is the point. I’m running for our nation and a vision for our nation. It’s not somebody else’s vision. It’s a vision I’ve spent the last several years of my life, through the books that I’ve written, through the worked I’ve done, that I’m now running on as my platform for reviving a national identity.”
While Ramaswamy praised Trump for his “America First” agenda, he said “for me America First two-point-oh.”