Vivek Ramaswamy has been one of the more interesting candidates in the 2024 Republican primary. Once a staunch critic of January 6th and a supporter of COVID-19 surveillance apps, the businessman reinvented himself as a conservative firebrand. More importantly for his popularity, he has run a campaign that has gone out of its way to be supportive of Donald Trump.
Because of that, Ramaswamy has earned the praise of much of the former president’s influencer network, including those connected to organizations like TPUSA and CPAC. He’s often been cited as the premier example of how to run against Trump (as opposed to Ron DeSantis, at least in their telling). Whether that’s because they truly believe that or they just don’t see Ramaswamy as a real threat, I’ll let others decide.
That honeymoon period has come to an end, though. Trump has decided to speak up on the issue, and he’s firmly for tossing Ramaswamy under the bus.
Ramaswamy has been overly complimentary and defensive of Trump the entire primary. So much so that some might read that post from the former president and be surprised. I understand exactly why it was posted, though.
Trump knows that Ramaswamy draws from the same voter pool he is counting on to cruise to a win in the primary. At some point, the businessman was going to outlive his usefulness as a quasi-ally. Was this prompted by some internal indication that Iowa might be closer than expected, causing Trump to feel he has to shore things up? That’s certainly possible, but whatever the reason, it seems he decided it was time to tell his voters to stop playing footsy with Ramaswamy.
Bigger picture, this was always going to happen. It was just a matter of time. Trump doesn’t keep people around past their sell-by date, and Ramaswamy was naive to think he’d ever be able to sidle up beside the former president without receiving some incoming. The businessman flew too close to the sun, and while it was fun while it lasted, he was never going to be allowed to run as the successor to Trump without express written permission from the man himself.
Will Ramaswamy respond to this attack, including the claim he’s “not MAGA?” I’d guess almost certainly not. At this juncture, he’s not going to be competitive in the primary (he failed to get on the ballot in most states), and he has much more to gain by protecting his relationships with Trump’s influencers, who, at least right now, generally approve of him. If anything, we might see him drop out after Iowa so that there’s no more conflict of interest on that front. Stay tuned.
Updated [7:45 pm EST, 1/13/24]: This appears to be the post that got under Trump’s skin. Ironically, Ramaswamy was trying to show support for Trump by reiterating his pledge to pardon him: