GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, a political newcomer who has recently taken heat over his controversial remarks and stances, said on Saturday that he was apolitical and “disillusioned by partisan politics” prior to 2020.
“It started around 2020,” Ramaswamy said in an interview on “Fox and Friends,” when asked how and when he developed his current political ideology. “I mean, I was apolitical before 2020.”
“There were years, many people pointed out, in much of my twenties, I didn’t vote,” he added. That’s accurate. I was disillusioned by partisan politics.”
The conservative entrepreneur said he voted for a libertarian in his first presidential election and sat out the 2008 and 2012 elections.
While he did not mention the 2016 or 2020 elections in the interview, Ramaswamy has previously said he did not cast a ballot in 2016 and voted for former President Trump in 2020, according to Reuters.
“I didn’t come out of the birth canal spouting Republican talking points,” he said on Saturday. “That’s true. I came to my views based on my experiences.”
He also pointed to his experiences with the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Floyd, who was Black, was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer in 2020, sparking nationwide protests over police brutality and racism in America.
“I was a CEO who, like so many CEOs, was browbeaten into potentially making statements on behalf of Black Lives Matter after George Floyd died,” Ramaswamy said. “Among CEOs in America, I was unique in saying that I refused to do it, to say that businesses should stay out of politics, should focus on profits.”
“That ultimately led me to a journey that’s caused me to arrive at the pro-American views that I espouse today,” he added.
The Republican hopeful has drawn criticism in recent weeks over his controversial remarks.
At the first GOP primary debate in Milwaukee last week, Ramaswamy declared the “climate change agenda” a “hoax” and was the only candidate to raise his hand when asked if they opposed continuing U.S. support for Ukraine.
In the wake of the debate, Ramaswamy unveiled his foreign policy platform, which included a proposal to cede territory in eastern Ukraine to Russia in exchange for Moscow’s withdrawal from a military alliance with China.
He has also faced backlash recently for comparing Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a Black Democrat from Massachusetts, to “modern grand wizards” of the Ku Klux Klan and appearing to question whether federal agents were on the planes involved in the 9/11 attacks.
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