Vivek Ramaswamy’s face lit up when his three-year-old son Karthik, celebrating his birthday, called him to say goodnight.
The 37-year-old best-selling author, hedge fund multi-millionaire and son of Indian immigrants wants to fix America’s national identity crisis by ending the ‘secular religion’ of ‘woke-ism’.
Wearing a white button-down with the sleeves rolled to his elbows, Ramaswamy was all business – that is, until his wife and sons’ faces showed up on his phone.
He had just a few moments to eat some bites of mac-and-cheese, fried mushrooms and down a Diet Coke before speaking with an enthusiastic crowd waiting to get his signature in their copy of his book Nation of Victims.
Aside from his bid to tackle ‘wokeism’ and the question of what it means to be an American, Ramaswamy revealed he is also a tennis ‘fanatic’ and was a full-time dad for a few months during the COVID pandemic so his wife could work in a New York hospital.
Biotech and hedge fund multi-millionaire Vivek Ramaswamy sat down for an interview with DailyMail.com on Thursday during his first swing through Iowa after officially announcing his presidential bid
Ramaswamy paused the interview to take an incoming call from his son Karthik, whose 3rd birthday was on Thursday. The candidate’s wife and two sons were meant to join him in Iowa from Ohio, but had to cancel their plans due to weather
Detailing to DailyMail.com his vision for the next year in an interview in Iowa on Thursday, Ramaswamy said that he wants to lay out the ‘how’ of addressing issues plaguing the nation.
He said that 2024 can be the year when Americans decide ‘who’ is best to take on that mission.
The self-described ‘nerdy kid’ didn’t mince words when speaking about Trump, claiming that while he was able to identify issues, he feels that the former president wasn’t able to ‘deliver’ on meaningful change.
‘The first thing that I’m a big fan of doing is giving people credit where credit is due,’ Ramaswamy said earlier in the day in Iowa when speaking with a room full of 20 business leaders.
‘President Trump is actually a friend,’ he added. ‘If I’m being really honest, I probably wouldn’t have thought of doing what I’m doing now if he hadn’t successfully done what he did in 2015 and 2016 – came as a political outsider, shook it up, was able to say things that other Republican candidates refused or were unable to say.’
‘Got to give credit where credit is due. He was the OG of ‘America First’ – and, for what it’s worth, I’m an unapologetic ‘American First’ conservative, too,’ Ramaswamy said. ‘But the question is – Where do we go from here? To put America first, we first have to rediscover what America is.’
Some of the cornerstones of Ramaswamy’s agenda includes eradicating affirmative action, imposing the same government-level punishments to private entities for censoring political speech and cementing political expression as a civil right.
Much more interested in discussing policy and politics than his personal life, the founder of biopharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences and co-founder of Strive Asset Management said that in his limited blocks of free time he enjoys playing tennis.
Ramaswamy woke up early Friday morning in Iowa to play tennis at 5:30 a.m.
‘I’m a tennis fanatic,’ he told DailyMail.com.
While the native Ohioan says he doesn’t have much time for other leisure activities, he is a ‘big Bengals fan’.
‘Achievement was my ticket to get ahead. It’s deeply personal to me,’ he said in his interview with DailyMail.com
Ramaswamy greets supporters at the Machine Shed restaurant in Urbandale, Iowa – just miles from downtown Des Moines
Ramaswamy received a call from his wife who said their son, Karthik, wanted to say goodnight
The candidate’s face lit-up when he received the call from his family, asking for a few moments to speak with them before resuming the interview
Ramaswamy is pictured with his wife Apoorva Tewari Ramaswamy and their two sons Karthik, 3, (left) and Arjun, 7 months, (right). The candidate shared that the two lived apart for three months at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when their eldest son was only three weeks old because his wife was working in a hospital
Ramaswamy is the son of Indian immigrant parents and has one younger brother. He went to Harvard for undergraduate and got a JD from Yale Law School
Ramaswamy said some of the cornerstones of his platform include eradicating affirmative action, imposing punishments to private entities for censoring political speech and cementing political expression as a civil right. He spoke with a room of supporters waiting for their copy of his book to be signed at the Machine Shed restaurant on the outskirts of Des Moines, Iowa
A room full of several dozen 2024 primary voters gathered at the Machine Shed restaurant in Urbandale, Iowa – just a few miles from downtown Des Moines – to hear from the lesser-known candidate who jumped into the race just behind Trump and his once-Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley.
Iowa is still the first-in-the-nation primary contest state for Republicans and has for decades set the tone for how the race for the party’s nomination will play out.
Democrats spent the last few years officially switching their first primary contest state to South Carolina.
Ramaswamy’s wife and two sons were supposed to be in Iowa with him this week as his eldest son Karthik turned three.
While winter weather prevented his family from joining him, the candidate’s son made a video call to his father just before his remarks to say good night and get one last ‘Happy Birthday’ before bed.
The toddler wanted to be shown the people gathered around during the interview, which Ramaswamy did with the gleaming smile of a proud father.
He also has a seven-month-old son named Arjun.
When asked about balancing life with a presidential run, Ramaswamy said his wife Apoorva, a laryngologist and throat surgeon specializing in swallowing disorders, ‘owes me.’
Just before the onset of the pandemic, Apoorva Tewari Ramaswamy gave birth to the couple’s first son Karthik.
Just weeks into her maternity leave, Ramaswamy said that his wife felt the calling to help because New York Presbyterian was understaffed due to the onset of the coronavirus crisis.
Since the threat the first strain of coronavirus posed to newborns and infants, the couple decided to live separately from each other for three months, starting when their son was less than four weeks old – and Ramaswamy went part time with his work to take on the role of full-time dad.
Ramaswamy spent the entire day traveling through Iowa, stopping at Accumold to speak with business leaders in Ankeny, Iowa
Ramaswamy took some questions from those gathered at the Accumold factory and offices and talked about how he would deal with eventual name-calling from Donald Trump
‘That was reality,’ Ramaswamy told DailyMail.com when sitting down to speak at Machine Shed before his remarks. ‘We’re in it as a family.’
‘We support each other in what we need to do at the right points in our lives,’ he added. ‘I kind of view this run as doing that now in the different direction.’
Apoorva did get COVID-19 at one point, and so did her surgeon father – who was hospitalized for his case.
Ramaswamy said that his parents immigrated to the United States from India because they wanted to get access to better education, both for themselves and for their future children.
The candidate says that his upbringing in Ohio led him to develop his ‘ideology of merit.’
‘A meritocracy is an ideology to which I subscribe with bone-deep conviction,’ Ramaswamy said.
‘I was sort of a nerdy kid – academically inclined,’ he admitted. ‘Academics was a major focus of our family household. And they used to say if you’re going to stand out, you might as well be outstanding.’
‘It’s sort of a corny phrase that my parents came up with, but there’s actually a lot of truth to it,’ he reflected.
‘Achievement was my ticket to get ahead. It’s deeply personal to me.’
Ramaswamy’s parents emigrated to the United States from Vadakkencherry, Palakkad, Kerala, India. His father worked for General Electric as an engineer and patent attorney while his mother worked as a geriatric psychiatrist.
Flipping the script on liberals who claim conservatives and white people are inherently racist, Ramaswamy said the implementation of ‘woke’ policies that put preference on some races is fueling racism in the country.
‘If you’re being called a racist today, chances are you’re probably doing something right,’ Ramaswamy said. ‘Because the only reason you’re being called a racist is because they want to chase you away from whatever it is you were trying to accomplish.’
‘I think racial ‘woke-ism’ is one that is likely to cause deep-seated national division by causing us to view each other as nothing more than the genetically inherited characteristics we inherited on the day we’re born,’ he continued.
‘I think there’s no better way to fuel anti-black racism in America than to take something away from a different race on the basis of the color of their skin. It’s not just an anti-white, anti-Asian racism point – it’s that, but it’s more than that. It’s fueling a new wave of anti-black racism that wouldn’t exist but for the racial preference policies that we’ve created.’
Ramaswamy was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1985. He was the high school class valedictorian in 2003 and was ranked nationally as a junior tennis player.
The candidate graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 2007 with a degree in biology. He went on to receive a JD from Yale Law School in 2013.
Ramaswamy says that academic excellence and achievement was always important in his home growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio
‘I was sort of a nerdy kid – academically inclined,’ said Ramaswamy (pictured as a child on right). ‘Academics was a major focus of our family household. And they used to say if you’re going to stand out, you might as well be outstanding. It’s sort of a corny phrase that my parents came up with, but there’s actually a lot of truth to it’
Ramaswamy says his campaign will focus on eradicating affirmative action in America, punishing private companies and entities for censoring political speech and making political expression a civil right in the United States.
The candidate said affirmative action hasn’t been ended by any other president because they ‘fear political backlash.’
‘I don’t have that fear of political backlash. I’m going to do it,’ Ramaswamy vowed.
The 2024 presidential campaign field is shaping up to be crowded – and speculation is swirling that the candidates will look to out-anti-woke one another.
One thing sure to set Ramaswamy apart from the rest of the eventual crowd is his age. He is just two years over the legal age to run for president – and he will likely remain the youngest candidate in the running.
He disagrees, however, with Nikki Haley’s proposal that there should be a mandatory competency test for politicians in federal office over the age of 75.
‘I disagree that anyone other than the voters should decide who gets to run this country,’ Ramaswamy said.
When asked if there should be any litmus tests for presidency, Ramaswamy said: ‘As minimal as possible.’
‘John Fetterman should not be in the U.S. Senate – and under her proposal he wouldn’t have been subjected to a competency test,’ he explained, referencing the freshman Pennsylvania senator who had a stroke shortly before being elected and who is now voluntarily admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center for inpatient care for depression.
‘There are people who are above the age of 75 who can be perfectly competent to run the country,’ Ramaswamy added.
‘I think it was sort of a cheap selection of the age 75 because Donald Trump happens to be 76, whose one of our competitors,’ he continued. ‘I’m saying this as probably the youngest candidate in this race – if I had to guess it’s going to stay that way – I don’t want to eliminate competition based on arbitrary top-down rules.’
‘Was 75 arbitrarily chosen? Would she have said 70 if Donald Trump was 71?’ he questioned.
Ramaswamy appeared to take a veiled swipe at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during the wide-ranging interview with DailyMail.com, claiming that state leaders are good ‘foot soldiers’ in the fight against woke-ism, but claiming they haven’t dedicated themselves to fighting and understanding the issue at the level to which he does.
‘It’s really in vogue for Republicans to be talking about woke-ism,’ Ramaswamy said with a tone of frustration. ‘I don’t think they – you find somebody who understands these issues at the level of granularity that I do and I will be thrilled, because I have been trying to educate this – the base of leadership for a long time, and they’re trying their best.’
‘At the state-level, that’s fine – they can be good foot soldiers in this battle,’ he added. ‘But if you’re talking about a national identity revival, I think you need somebody who understands this deeply and is actually empowered and unafraid to do something about it.’
Ramaswamy says he is the original anti-woke candidate, claiming that he knows more than any other candidate about the granularity of what needs to be done to address the rising issue in the U.S.
DeSantis has famously been touting his ‘anti-woke’ agenda in Florida, claiming that his leadership created a state where ‘woke goes to die.’
While the Florida governor has not yet announced a run for president, he has started traveling the country amid whispers that he will mount a primary bid.
While not a widely known name, Ramaswamy has written three books – one not yet released – which earned him national attention and has contributed to making him an icon within conservative circles.
In August 2021 he published Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam, which became an instant New York Times bestseller.
He published his second book, Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence, in September 2022.
Ramaswamy’s third book is coming out in April 2023. He said he signed on to write the book before deciding to run for president and said that all of the content he has put out in the past should not be considered part of his official platform.
The candidate may not be able to do a full-on book tour for Capitalist Punishment: How Wall Street Is Using Your Money to Create a Country You Didn’t Vote For, because he will be on the campaign trail once it hits shelves.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk