GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy Sunday called a publication's claims that he has not mounted a serious campaign but instead is running for the White House for his financial gain "laughable," and insisted that he's making a sacrifice to run because he cares about the United States.
"I did not take a tin can and ask a bunch of donors with hat in hand for permission to run," Ramaswamy said on "Fox News Sunday." "I have lived the full arc of the American dream. I am proud of that. I put over $10 million of my hard-earned money — far more than that — into this campaign. The idea that it is profitable for me is a joke. The reality is you make the sacrifices because you care about something greater. That is our country. We are in the middle of a national identity crisis."
Earlier this year, Charles C.W. Cooke wrote a piece for The National Review comparing Ramaswamy to Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and saying he "speaks conservatism as a second language, and like Mitt Romney, he doesn't quite know it." Cooke wrote that rather than running for president, Ramaswamy is "building a ginormous mailing list."
He also accused Ramaswamy of "running as Donald Trump's press secretary" and said he has set out to "become the first contender for president in American history whose approach to the race is to sell the virtues of the front-runner better than the front-runner can himself."
But Ramaswamy told Fox News Sunday that he is running to restore the country's self-image.
"If you ask most people my age — and even younger — what it means to be an American, you get a blank stare in response," he said. "I think that is a problem. I think for too long in the conservative movement we have been running from something. I am in this race to start leading us to something, to our vision of what it actually means to be an American today and to speak the hard truth that others in the Democratic Party and even others in the Republican Party are afraid to speak out loud."
And that is, he continued, that "there are two genders and God is real. Fossil fuels are a requirement for human prosperity. That last one got me censored on Microsoft-owned Linked In."
Ramaswamy added that it will take a "true outsider" to get that done. And, he said, while Trump was the outsider in June 2015, he's polling ahead of where Trump was at that point of his campaign.
"The debate state is going to be a crucial next step," he said. "I"m confident that we're not only going to win the election but do it in a landslide as [Ronald] Reagan did."
Ramaswamy has made news for his call for his fellow candidates to promise to pardon Trump if they are elected, and he said Sunday that he's worried about the Department of Justice being weaponized like a "police force against people based on their political viewpoints."
"Under my watch will make sure the FBI, first of all, does not exist as an institution," he said.
He added that it would be easier for him if Trump weren't running for president, but he also thinks it's important to build trust in the nation's institutions.
At the same time, Ramaswamy defended his nationalist stance.
"'Nationalism' does not have to be a bad word," he said. "It means we stand for the ideals that set this nation into motion years ago, the pursuit of excellence and the rule of law, free speech and open debate, and self-governance. These are the values that won the American Revolution. We need to be proud of these ideals again."
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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