Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy suspends presidential campaign, announces support for Trump

(CNN) — Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy ended his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential race on Monday night following disappointing results in the Iowa caucuses.

“I’m going to stick to the facts tonight. The first fact is hard, it’s hard for me, I have to admit, but we’ve looked at it from all sides. I don’t think we’ve really achieved anything surprising. We want to deliver tonight,” he said at a campaign tailgate party in Des Moines, Iowa.

Ramaswamy next formally endorsed former President Donald Trump, the projected winner of the Iowa caucuses.

“I called Donald Trump tonight to congratulate him on his victory. From now on, I will give him my full support for the presidency,” he declared.

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

“I will probably appear at a rally in New Hampshire tomorrow with Donald Trump to lay out my vision and our vision for the future of our country,” he said.

Ramaswamy, 38, is the youngest candidate in the campaign and has touted his youth and relative lack of political experience as part of a broader appeal to a new generation of leaders, often associated with older , in sharp contrast to the pro-Republican establishment.

“America is going through a national identity crisis,” Ramaswamy wrote in The Wall Street Journal when he announced his campaign. “In a time when faith, patriotism and hard work are all in decline, we are hungry for purpose.” “The Republican Party’s First Priority The task should be to fill the void with inspiring national identities that downplay the woke agenda into irrelevance. Instead, many frontline Republicans recite slogans they memorized in 1980 or criticize left-wing culture without offering an alternative.” .

Vivek Ramaswamy

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks to guests during a campaign event at Vande’s Bar & Grill in Rock Pitts, Iowa, on October 30, 2023 (Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images/File)

Ramaswamy stands out among other Republican candidates with his support for Trump, even as other rivals try to undercut the primary favorite. He is closely aligned with Trump’s political vision, calling himself part of the “America First Movement” and calling Trump “the greatest president of the 21st century.” He vigorously defended the former president after each accusation, pledging to pardon Trump on federal charges if elected to the White House and calling on other candidates to make the same pledge.

He launched his campaign in February 2023 as a little-known former pharmaceutical executive whose book “Woke, Inc.” and “Victim Nation” have given him growing visibility in right-wing media. He appeared on Tucker Carlson’s former show on Fox News soon after announcing his campaign, an early sign of his strategy to educate voters through numerous appearances and interviews with conservative media figures.

Ramaswamy is a Hindu and the son of Indian immigrants who grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. He earned a biology degree from Harvard University and a law degree from Yale University. He subsequently founded Roivant Sciences, a biotech company, and then helped found Strive Asset Management, an investment management firm known for its refusal to incorporate “woke” ideology into investment decisions, including environmental, social and corporate governance , these are positions he frequently advances. Pointed out along the way.

Ramaswamy is a frequent critic of the two-party political system and often says he “uses” the Republican Party to advance his own agenda. Throughout the campaign, he harshly criticized Republican leaders, particularly Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, whom he called for her resignation.

“We have become the party of losers,” Ramaswamy said of underperforming Republican candidates during a November debate. “Since Ronna McDaniel took over as RNC chair in 2017 , we’ve lost 2018, 2020, 2022 – without the red wave, that never came -. We were defeated last night in 2023. I think we have to take responsibility within our party.” .

This summer, Ramaswamy began to make headway in the polls, as Republicans gained a better understanding of the Ohio businessman, helped by his ability to attract attention. A memorable karaoke cover of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” was performed at the Iowa State Fair following an event hosted by Gov. Kim Reynolds. As Ramaswamy’s popularity has grown, he has become the focus of attacks from key opponents, who have focused on his unabashed support for Trump and anti-establishment rhetoric. Those contrasts played out during the Republican debate, where in Trump’s absence, Ramaswamy represented the former president’s isolationist views on foreign policy.

The attacks ultimately changed public opinion about Ramaswamy’s candidacy, with polls showing him stalling after rising to prominence over the summer. A Des Moines Register/NBC News/Medicom Iowa poll released in November showed that 37% of Republican voters viewed him unfavorably, a 17-point increase from the same poll in August. . A CNN poll in New Hampshire released in November showed that 30% of Republican primary voters would never support Ramaswamy for the nomination, up 6 percentage points from September.

The biggest attack on Ramaswamy’s campaign appears to have come from former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, also an Indian-American. Haley has repeatedly criticized his foreign policy views, particularly his proposal that Ukraine cede territory to Russia to end the war. He has called for a reduction in U.S. aid to Israel as part of a broader retreat from the international stage, but has also faced resistance within his party.

The criticism put the usually boisterous Ramaswamy in a difficult position.

Throughout the campaign, he changed or modified his stated foreign policy positions. He initially said that as president, he would let China annex Taiwan once the United States stopped relying on Taiwan for semiconductor supplies. But later he went back on his word and advocated continuing to implement the current Taiwan policy after the United States established “semiconductor independence.”

Ramaswamy has often tried to cast his lack of foreign policy experience as a positive, arguing that conventional diplomatic wisdom has led the United States in the wrong direction.

“I grew up watching the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Ramaswamy said in a foreign policy speech last year. “I fear we are paving the way for a larger conflict that repeats these mistakes, not on the same scale but on a larger scale than ever before.”

——CNN’s Gregory Krieger and Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.

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