Indian-American tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy has launched his 2024 presidential bid with a promise to “put merit back” and end dependence on China, becoming the second community member to enter the Republican Party's presidential primary after Nikki Haley.
Mr. Ramaswamy, 37, whose parents migrated to the United States from Kerala and worked at a General Electric plant in Ohio, made the announcement during a live interview on Fox News’s prime time show of Tucker Carlson, a conservative political commentator.
He is the second Indian-American to enter the Republican presidential primary.
Earlier this month, two-term former governor of South Carolina and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Ms. Haley announced her presidential campaign. She announced that she will contest against her former boss and ex-U.S. President Donald Trump for the Republican Party's nomination.
“We are in the middle of this national identity crisis, Tucker, where we have celebrated our differences 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," Mr. Ramaswamy said.
He calls “wokeism” a national threat "That's why I am proud to say tonight that I am running for United States President to revive those ideals in this country," he announced.
"I think we need to put ‘merit’ back into ‘America’ in every spirit of our lives," he said, adding that he will end affirmative action in "every sphere of American life." A second-generation Indian American, Mr. Ramaswamy founded Roivant Sciences in 2014 and led the largest biotech IPOs of 2015 and 2016, eventually culminating in successful clinical trials in multiple disease areas that led to FDA-approved products, according to his bio.
He has founded other successful healthcare and technology companies, and in 2022, he launched Strive Asset Management, a new firm focused on restoring the voices of everyday citizens in the American economy by leading companies to focus on excellence over politics.
“I'm all for putting America first, but in order to put America first, we have to first rediscover what America is. And to me, those are these basic rules of the road that set this nation into motion from meritocracy to free speech, to self-governance over aristocracy.
"The people who we elect actually make them run the government rather than this cancerous federal bureaucracy. That's gonna be the heart of my message,” Mr. Ramaswamy told Fox News in an interview.
He said the U.S. faces external threats like the rise of China.
It "has got to be our top foreign policy threat that we've gotta respond to, not pointless wars somewhere else." "That's gonna require some sacrifice. It's gonna require a declaration of independence from China and complete decoupling. And that's not gonna be easy. It's gonna require some inconvenience,” he said.
Foreign policy is all about prioritisation, Mr. Ramaswamy said.
“We gotta wake up to the fact that China is violating our sovereignty and the reason if that had been a Russian spy balloon, we'd have shot it down instantly and ratcheted up sanctions. Why didn't we do that for China?” he asked.
“The answer's simple. We depend on them for our modern way of life. This economic co-dependent relationship has to end,” he said.
In a statement Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison said as Mr. Ramaswamy used Tucker Carlson’s show to announce his campaign for President, one thing is clear: The race for the Make America Great Again (MAGA) base is getting messier and more crowded by the day.
“Over the next few months, Republicans are guaranteed to take exceedingly extreme positions on everything from banning abortion to cutting Social Security and Medicare and we look forward to continuing to ensure every American knows just how extreme the MAGA agenda is,” Mr. Harrison said.