Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy ends bid for Republican presidential nomination

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks to Republican California delegates and attendees at the GOP California Fall 2023 Convention in Anaheim on Sept. 30, 2023. MUST CREDIT: Melina Mara/The Washington Post

Vivek Ramaswamy, a wealthy entrepreneur and first-time candidate for office, has suspended his long shot bid for the Republican presidential nomination after months of struggling to gain significant ground, further shrinking a field dominated by Donald Trump.

“There is no path for me to be the next president absent things that we don’t want to see happen in this country,” he said at a news conference Monday night.

Ramaswamy, who is projected to come in fourth in the Iowa caucuses, held his news conference at a Des Moines hotel after Trump was declared the lopsided winner of the caucuses.

Trump topped 50 percent of the vote to place first, followed by a close race for second won by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, with former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley in third.

Ramaswamy failed to gain much traction with a campaign that emphasized provocative policy positions and public disputes with some of his fellow GOP candidates, even as he largely avoided criticism of Trump. His decision further pares down a once-crowded field of GOP contestants that has narrowed in recent months.

At 38, Ramaswamy was the youngest candidate in the field. He initially gained some popularity in GOP circles for what he proclaimed as his “anti-woke” views, and his effort to effectively run as a next iteration of Trump.

A business executive who made a fortune in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, Ramaswamy gained national attention for his book “Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam,” in which he attacked environmental, governance and social movements in corporate America as being ineffective and hypocritical – and overall, “woke.” Those views earned him praise from some of the country’s most popular conservative voices, including former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

But while Ramaswamy was lauded by some right-wing figures, his campaign struggled in the polls. He was garnering single-digit percentage support in key early nominating states toward the end of 2023, well behind Trump, the clear polling leader, and others battling to be the main alternative to the former president.

On the trail, Ramaswamy touted proposals that some experts warned were dangerous and would push the bounds of presidential authority.

He promised to end birthright citizenship and affirmative action and said he would close the Education Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies. He also wanted to limit the power of the Federal Reserve and send U.S. troops to the Mexican border. At one point, the political novice earned a standing ovation at an Indianapolis event for proposing to arm and train every household in Taiwan to protect against an attack from China.

All the while, Ramaswamy largely stayed away from criticizing Trump and would, at times, tout his relationship with him.

In a July interview with The Washington Post, Ramaswamy recalled receiving a call from Trump in April in which the former president “basically congratulated” him for his anti-China stances.

“One way or another, it’s going to be an outsider,” Ramaswamy said he told Trump, predicting a nontraditional candidate would prevail in the primary.

And while the youthful candidate remained chummy with Trump, he wasn’t shy about feuding with his other rivals.

He clashed with Haley on debate stages and in campaign speeches. During the third debate, Ramaswamy drew clear condemnation from the crowd, and a rebuke from Haley calling him “scum” when he discussed her daughter’s use of TikTok.



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