After a town hall event in Nashua, New Hampshire Tuesday evening, Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy took questions from the media about the migrant crisis, free trade, NATO expansion and how he sees the current state of the 2024 primary race.
In Maine, we have a severe migrant crisis, thousands of migrants have come to very small towns who don’t have the resources to take them in, while U.S. citizens are on the street.
What specific steps would you take as president to address not only the border crisis, but the people that are already here?
“So my view is, the first distinction we have to draw is those who enter the country legally, vs. illegally—and that we’re talking about illegal migrants here.
First step is seal the southern border, and the northern border. Use the military to actually close the border.
For the people who are already here, I believe in as humane and respectful of a manner as possible, they must be returned to their country of origin.
And then, for those who have demonstrated themselves to otherwise follow the law or make contributions to this country, get in line for a legal path back in.
A thing that I would not do: I would never separate families. So I don’t believe in using that as a deterrent. As a pro-family leader, I do believe that we have to make sure that the entire family is returned to the country of origin.”
One of the things you mentioned tonight that separated you from President Trump was that Trump wanted to exit trade deals like NAFTA or the Trans-Pacific Partnership—while you mentioned bringing the U.S. back into those trade deals, on better terms.
Could you clarify whether you are pro-free trade, or support something more similar to Trump in 2016?
“I have a unique vision that doesn’t fit into historical boxes.
My vision is: we need to declare independence from China, we cannot depend on our enemy for our modern way of life.
I’m serious about delivering that, and that requires other trading partners to be able to fill the gaps, specifically from a supply chain perspective, to make sure that Americans don’t suffer here at home.
I want to onshore as much as I can to the United States—that’s not going to happen instantly, and we need a bridge to be able to get there.”
An Echelon Insights 2024 national Republican primary poll taken June 26-29 put Ramaswamy at 10 percent, up 2 percent from May and trailing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by just 6 points.
Ramaswamy said Tuesday that his campaign is differentiating itself from the rest of the pack, and that his surge in the polls is not just temporary.
“I have a very clear vision of what I’m running on. It’s not just a biography, it’s not just on being an outsider or a guy who looks a little bit different or is younger than the rest of the pack,” Ramaswamy said. “It’s actually a vision of what we’re going to do.”
“We’ve already crossed 65,000 plus unique donors. I never started with a donor list, I never had a political donor in my life,” he said. “I’ve also made an eight-figure personal investment in this campaign, and we’re gonna stop at nothing.”
“This isn’t just some sort of temporary lift that we’re experiencing, this is the beginning of our climb to not only the nomination, not only winning the election, but leading a national revival, and I’m very confident in that,” he added.
Ramaswamy, an Ohio resident, has never held public office, and is running as a political outsider along the lines of Donald Trump—as an independently wealthy businessman and executive.
Making his fortune as an entrepreneur in biotech and pharmaceutical companies, he has taken a firm stance against “stakeholder” and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investing.
He is the first millennial to run in a Republican presidential primary, and is the child of Indian Hindu immigrant parents.
Ramaswamy believes that if he is the Republican nominee in 2024, the Democratic Party will not let President Biden run against him.
“I do not believe the Democrats will let Joe Biden run against me. I think I would too obviously defeat him in a landslide,” he said. “The juxtaposition of us on a debate stage, real or hypothetical, I think would be too much of a farce for even the Democratic Party to indulge.”
On the announcement of Sweden likely joining NATO, Ramaswamy said that NATO expansion was a “bad idea.”
“NATO has expanded far more after the fall of the USSR than it ever did when the USSR existed,” Ramaswamy said. “NATO was supposedly created to reduce the risk of nuclear war with the USSR, now the steps that it’s taking is literally increasing the risk of nuclear war with modern Russia.”
“I believe this does not advance American interests, and we should be deeply concerned about aggressive NATO expansion,” he said.
At an event in Iowa on Monday, Ramaswamy was interrupted by a pro-choice protester.
Rather than kicking the woman out of the event, Ramaswamy gave her the opportunity to speak—resulting in the video of the interaction going viral on Twitter.
“I’m not running to lead a political party, I’m running to lead a nation. And I think that means you have to be able to confront people who disagree with you, and still treat them as fellow Americans with dignity and respect, but without compromising on your principles,” Ramaswamy said about the protester Tuesday evening.
At Tuesday’s town hall, Ramaswamy outlined his 10-point platform, which he calls his 10 truths:
- God is real.
- There are two genders.
- Human flourishing requires fossil fuels.
- Reverse racism is racism.
- An open border is no border.
- Parents should determine the education of their children.
- The nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to mankind.
- Capitalism lifts people up from poverty.
- The people we elect to run the government do not actually run the government.
- The US Constitution is the strongest guarantor of freedoms in history.
Ramaswamy was asked to clarify whether point number six, about the importance of the nuclear family, extended to families with two moms or two dads.
“I believe the nuclear family, as traditionally defined, is a man and a woman in the house that raise children,” he said.
“But, I am pro-family, and so I believe it is preferable to have two parents in the house, rather than [children] being raised in a single-[parent] household,” he added. “So I am perfectly on board with the modern norm, if those who are gay wish to enter marriage and raise children, it is better to be done in a two-parent household than a single-parent household.”