Vivek Ramaswamy, the businessman and longshot 2024 Republican presidential candidate, was confronted on Fox News Sunday about his recent defense of former President Donald Trump.
Trump remains the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination—regularly leading all other candidates by double-digit margins in early polls, despite his recent spate of criminal indictments. Candidates like Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have typically drawn only single-digit support in the same polls.
In the wake of Trump’s recent federal indictment for the mishandling of classified national defense documents, Ramaswamy was one of the few candidates to outright decry the case as a Democratic plot to jail Trump and hurt his political fortunes. The businessman has pledged to pardon Trump if elected and called for others in the 2024 field to make the same pledge as well.
During a Sunday appearance on Fox News Sunday, host Shannon Bream confronted Ramaswamy on his “aggressive,” full-throated defense of Trump and criticism of the legitimacy of the U.S. justice system, citing a New York Times article raising concerns that his rhetoric might cause “lasting damage.”
“Do you acknowledge that possibility? Are you worried about it?” Bream asked the GOP presidential contender.
Above, a photo of businessman and GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. A Fox News host on Sunday confronted Ramaswamy on his “aggressive” recent defense of Trump after his federal indictment.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
“I’m more worried, Shannon, about the opposite possibility, which is when the Department of Justice weaponized police force against people based on their political viewpoints,” Ramaswamy said. “That already undermines trust in the justice system.”
Ramaswamy has regularly received negligible polling support, lower than other longshot candidates that have yet to enter the race, sometimes so low that he is not mentioned in the rundown of candidates. The current Real Clear Politics average of polls shows the GOP contender with about 2.4 percent support among Republican voters—well behind Trump’s nearly 53 percent and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ approximately 20 percent.
Some observers have said candidates like Ramaswamy are angling for roles in a hypothetical second Trump administration by avoiding overt criticisms of him on the campaign trail, and offering support of him in his various legal battles. For his part, the conservative businessman says that he aims to win the GOP nomination, saying he was inspired by Trump’s political outsider campaign in 2016.
The federal indictment issued against Trump last week, which Ramaswamy dismissed as purely political in nature, leveled dozens of charges against the former president, including 31 counts of willfully retaining documents containing sensitive national security information in violation of the Espionage Act. It also lays out extensive evidence highlighting Trump’s alleged attempts to obstruct attempts by the federal government to retrieve the documents he had in his possession.
Trump maintains his innocence, repeatedly dismissing the charges as politically motivated. He entered a “not guilty” plea during his arraignment in Florida last Tuesday.
A few GOP presidential candidates, including Christie and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, have been openly critical of Trump’s conduct in the wake of the federal indictment, with the latter calling for him to drop out of the race. Mike Pence, Trump’s former vice president, also said that he could not defend the conduct described in the indictment if it is accurate.
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s press team via email for comment.
Source : Newsweek