Newly declared 2024 Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy told Newsmax on Wednesday that he is running for office because the United States is in a "national identity crisis" that requires conservative values to fix.
"I'm staying true to my reason for doing this," Ramaswamy told Wednesday's "Eric Bolling The Balance." "We are in the middle of a national identity crisis in this country — where faith, patriotism, hard work, these things have disappeared, and we see these new secular religions in America, 'woke-ism,' 'climate-ism,' 'COVID-ism,' [and] gender ideology, filling the void instead.
"I think that presents a historic opportunity for the conservative movement in this country to fill that vacuum of identity with something so meaningful that it dilutes these woke agendas to irrelevance."
The author and entrepreneur said he is running for president to provide an answer to what being an American means by bringing back conservative values based on the principles the nation was founded on, something the country is currently lacking.
"I'm not channeling somebody else's agenda," he said. "This is an agenda and a vision that I have developed myself over the last three years, and I'm looking forward to sharing with the country."
Ramaswamy is the third GOP candidate to declare for president in the 2024 race behind former President Donald Trump and former United Nations Amb. Nikki Haley.
Although Trump is now an opponent for the Republican nomination, Ramaswamy said Trump's 2016 run and tenure as president inspired him to run as an outsider.
"I see a lot of similarities to Donald Trump [in] 2016," he said. "If I'm going to be really honest with you, if he hadn't done what he did, to give him full credit here, I probably wouldn't even have thought about doing this in a serious way."
He said watching Trump accomplish what he did as an "outsider" proved that it is still what is necessary to bring the country back, because that kind of candidate and president can get Republicans talking about issues they will not currently discuss.
Among the things he said he would do if elected president include ending affirmative action, "abandoning the climate religion" that hampers America while not being enforced in other countries, and using whatever force is needed to bring down the cartels at the southern border.
He said, while he respects Trump's "America first" efforts, it needs to go "to the next level."
"We can talk about putting America first, and I'm all in for the America first movement," he said. "But to put America first we need to rediscover what America is. That's what I have in my version of this is 'America First 2.0.' We need to take this to the next level."
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