A young, rich and little-known tech entrepreneur who calls “wokeism” a national threat announced Tuesday night he is seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
Vivek Ramaswamy, 37, announced his candidacy in a five-minute video posted online. In it, Ramaswamy downplayed the importance of tax policies and the science around the coronavirus in favor of liberating what he says are voices that have been unfairly silenced.
"Maybe you disagree with each other about whether corporate tax rates should be high or low," Ramaswamy says in the video. "Whether ivermectin treats covid, and that's fine. But those are details. We still agree on the most basic rules of the road . . ."
We’ve celebrated our “diversity” so much that we forgot all the ways we’re really the same as Americans, bound by ideals that united a divided, headstrong group of people 250 years ago. I believe deep in my bones those ideals still exist. I’m running for President to revive them. pic.twitter.com/bz5Qtt4tmm— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) February 22, 2023
A spokesperson for Ramaswamy did not respond when asked for the candidate's views on corporate taxes or ivermectin, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns against using to treat or prevent the coronavirus.
"If you ask me, the best measure of the health of American democracy is actually the percentage of people who feel free to say what they actually think in public," Ramaswamy said in the campaign-launch video. "And right now we're doing abysmally."
Ramaswamy says in the biography on his website that he founded Roivant Sciences in 2014 along with other health-care and technology companies. He said he created Strive Asset Management last year to restore "the voices of everyday citizens in the American economy by leading companies to focus on excellence over politics."
Ramaswamy, who wrote the books "Woke Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam," and "Nation of Victims," was dubbed "The C.E.O. of Anti-Woke, Inc." in a recent New Yorker profile.
Earlier this month, Fox News host Tucker Carlson praised Ramaswamy's criticism of efforts to curb climate change as "one of the smartest observations I've heard in, I can't remember - a long time."
But despite his success in the business world and appearances in conservative media, Ramaswamy enters the 2024 presidential primary race far less known than most of his opponents.
Other Republican candidates for the 2024 nomination include former president Donald Trump and 51-year-old Nikki Haley, who served as United Nations ambassador during the Trump administration and was governor of South Carolina before that. Both Ramaswamy, who was born in Ohio, and Haley, who was born in South Carolina, are children of immigrant parents from India.
Ramaswamy is honing a popular message among Republicans, aimed at defeating progressive ideas they loosely define as "wokeism."
"Faith, patriotism, hard work and family have disappeared," Ramaswamy says in his video, replaced with what he calls "covid'ism," "climatism," and "gender ideology."
"If you question that orthodoxy," he adds, "they call you a bigot, a homophobe, a climate denier, a racist."
“This is psychological slavery,” Ramaswamy said. “And that’s created a new culture of fear in our country that has completely replaced our culture of free speech in America.”