Vivek Ramaswamy suspends presidential campaign

Jan 15, 2024, 10:01 PM

Vivek Ramaswamy, pictured here on October 30, 2023, is suspending his campaign for the Republican p...

Vivek Ramaswamy, pictured here on October 30, 2023, is suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. (Scott Olson, Getty Images, file)

(Scott Olson, Getty Images, file)

(CNN) — Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy ended his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination Monday night after a disappointing finish in the Iowa caucuses.

“I will stick to the truth tonight. The first hard truth and this was hard for me, I gotta admit this, but we’ve looked at it every which way. And I think it is true that we did not achieve the surprise that we wanted to deliver tonight,” he said at his campaign’s watch party in Des Moines, Iowa.

Iowa ends it for Ramaswamy

Ramaswamy then formally endorsed former President Donald Trump, the projected victor of the Iowa caucuses.

“Earlier tonight, I called Donald Trump to tell him that I congratulate him on his victory. And now going forward, he will have my full endorsement for the presidency,” he said.

He said he plans to travel to New Hampshire to campaign for Trump on Tuesday ahead of the state’s primary next week.

“Tomorrow we’re likely – I’m going to appear with Donald Trump at a rally in New Hampshire to lay out what I see and what we see for the future of the country,” he said.

At 38, Ramaswamy was the youngest candidate in the field, and he touted his youth and relative political inexperience as part of a broader appeal for a new generation of leadership, often drawing contrasts with older, more establishment-aligned Republicans.

“America is in the midst of a national identity crisis. We hunger for purpose at a moment when faith, patriotism and hard work are on the decline,” Ramaswamy wrote in The Wall Street Journal announcing his campaign. “The Republican Party’s top priority should be to fill this void with an inspiring national identity that dilutes the woke agenda to irrelevance. Instead, many top Republicans recite slogans they memorized in 1980 or criticize left-wing culture without offering an alternative.”

He embraced former President Trump

Ramaswamy stood out from the rest of the Republican field for his embrace of former President Donald Trump even as other rivals sought to weaken the primary front-runner. He aligned himself closely with Trump’s policy vision, self-identified as a part of the “America First movement” and called Trump “the greatest president of the 21st century.” And he forcefully defended the former president after each of his indictments, pledging to pardon Trump of federal charges if he were elected to the White House and calling on other candidates to make the same commitment.

He launched his campaign in February 2023 as a little-known former pharmaceutical executive whose books “Woke, Inc.” and “Nation of Victims” had given him a growing profile in right-wing media. His campaign announcement was quickly followed by an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s former show on Fox News, an early indication of his strategy to introduce himself to voters through a heavy diet of appearances and interviews with conservative media figures.

Ramaswamy, who is Hindu and the son of Indian immigrants, was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in biology before earning a law degree from Yale University. He then founded a biotechnology firm, Roivant Sciences, before helping start Strive Asset Management, an investment management firm that earned a reputation for refusing to consider “woke” ideology in investment decisions, including environmental, social and corporate governance factors – positions he frequently pointed to on the trail.

Critical of a two-party political system

A frequent critic of the two-party political system, Ramaswamy often said he was “using” the Republican Party to advance his own agenda. Over the course of his campaign, he leveled sharp criticisms at GOP leaders, most notably Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, whom he called on to resign.

“We’ve become a party of losers,” Ramaswamy said of underperforming Republican candidates during a debate in November. “Since Ronna McDaniel took over as chairwoman of the RNC in 2017, we have lost 2018, 2020, 2022 — no red wave, that never came. We got trounced last night in 2023. And I think that we have to have accountability in our party.”

Ramaswamy began to gain traction in polls over the summer as Republicans learned more about the Ohio businessman, aided by his knack for garnering attention; he memorably performed a karaoke version of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” at the Iowa State Fair after an event hosted by Gov. Kim Reynolds. As he grew in prominence, Ramaswamy became a focal point for attacks from primary opponents who zeroed in on his blustery support for Trump and anti-establishment rhetoric. Those contrasts were on stark display at the Republican debates, where, in Trump’s absence, Ramaswamy served as a proxy for the former president’s isolationist foreign policy views.

Those attacks proved to shift public perceptions around Ramaswamy’s candidacy, with polls showing him stagnating after his summer rise. A Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa poll released in November showed that 37% of likely Republican caucusgoers viewed him unfavorably, a 17-point increase from the same poll in August. A CNN New Hampshire poll released in November found that 30% of likely Republican primary voters said they would never support Ramaswamy for the nomination, 6 points higher than the poll’s September finding.

The attacks that appeared to affect Ramaswamy’s campaign the most came from former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a fellow Indian American. She repeatedly skewered his foreign policy views, particularly a proposal for Ukraine to cede territory to Russia in a bid to end the war there. His call to scale back US aid to Israel as part of a broader retreat from the international stage also met resistance across the party.

That criticism put the typically boisterous Ramaswamy on the back foot.

Throughout the campaign, he shifted or amended his stated foreign policy positions. He initially suggested that, as president, he would let China potentially annex Taiwan once the US was no longer dependent on the self-governing island for its semiconductor supply. Later on, though, he reversed course and talked up a continuation of the current Taiwan policy even after the US established “semiconductor independence.”

Ramaswamy often sought to frame his lack of foreign policy experience as a positive, arguing that the conventional wisdom on foreign affairs has led the US in the wrong direction.

“I grew up into watching the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Ramaswamy said in a foreign policy speech last year. “I worry that we are paving the path to larger-scale conflict that repeats those mistakes, not at the same scale, but at a larger scale than ever before.”

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, left, and President Joe Biden toast before Biden speaks to members of the Na...

Darlene Superville, The Associated Press

Biden and Utah’s governor call for less bitterness and more bipartisanship

President Joe Biden and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox disagree on many issues but they were united Saturday in calling for less bitterness in politics and more bipartisanship.

11 hours ago

Sandra Young went missing from the Portland metro area more than five decades ago. (Oregon State Po...

Dalia Faheid, CNN

Remains of Oregon teenager are identified 50 years later after someone uploaded their DNA into genealogy site

The remains of a Portland, Oregon, teenager who vanished in the late 1960s have been identified through advanced DNA testing more than 50 years after she went missing, authorities said

12 hours ago

FILE - The company logo hangs over the door to an AT&T store Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Denver...

Associated Press

AT&T will give $5 to customers hit by cellphone network outage

AT&T says it will give affected customers $5 each to compensate for last week's cellphone network outage that left many without service for hours.

13 hours ago

Kathy Brandel and Ralph Hendry, from Virginia, were spending the winter cruising the Eastern Caribb...

Sharif Paget, Chris Boyette and Polo Sandoval, CNN

2 Americans believed dead after yacht allegedly hijacked in Grenada

The family of two Americans who may have been killed after prison escapees allegedly hijacked their yacht in Granada are clinging to hope the couple might be found alive.

15 hours ago

A paddle boarder tows an inflatable unicorn on a temporary lake in Death Valley on Thursday, Feb. 2...

Ty O'Neil, John Locher and Stephanie Dazio, The Associated Press

Kayakers paddle in Death Valley after rains replenish lake in one of Earth’s driest spots

Kayakers have been paddling in one of the driest places on Earth after a series of record rainstorms battered California’s Death Valley and replenished Lake Manly.

15 hours ago

Kingsley Ben-Adir, izquierda, protagonista de "Bob Marley: One Love" posa con el hijo de Marley, Zi...

Jonathan Landrum, Jr., The Associated Press

‘One Love’ receives more love at the box office, claiming No. 1 spot for second straight week

For a second straight week, biopic “ Bob Marley: One Love ” continues to exceed expectations by claiming the No. 1 spot at the box office, overcoming two debut films and Sony's “Madame Web” that's still producing subpar numbers.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Vivek Ramaswamy suspends presidential campaign